12/09/2018 14:02 BST

Keira Knightley Says Sexism Means People Don't Take Period Dramas Seriously

'There’s a negativity around them because predominantly they’re female.'

Keira Knightley has suggested that period dramas aren’t taken seriously because they focus on women characters.

“There’s a negativity around them because predominantly they’re female,” the actress said at the Toronto Film Festival, according to the BBC.

She also said she’d previously considered swearing off the genre, but was drawn back in by strong scripts.

Keira played Elizabeth Bennet in the 2005 big screen adaptation of 'Pride And Prejudice'.

“The strongest characters I’ve found have been in period roles,” she said.

Within the genre, Keira has starred in ‘Atonement’, ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and ‘The Imitation Game’, and will now grace screens in a period drama once again in ‘Colette’, a biopic of a French novelist nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1948.

“I also like the idea of breathing life back into what is gone. In a funny way, it’s resurrecting the dead,” Keira said of her love of films set in the past.

“The slightly more morally ambiguous women are the ones that I’m interested in. I look for women I can recognise.”

VALERIE MACON via Getty Images

Other films that made her a household name include ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ and ‘Bend It Like Beckham’.

Knightley spoke out in January this year about choosing to avoid contemporary roles because of how frequently women are sexual assaulted in them.

“I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces,” she said.

‘Colette’ premiered at the festival yesterday, and will come to UK cinemas in January 2019. 

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