INT: Knightley / Scott
There are several reasons why Keira Knightley is one of my favorite young actresses, not the least of which is the fact that she can arrive at an interview looking great despite having spent all night on a film set. Knightley, who is currently hard at work on the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN sequel, stopped by the W hotel in Los Angeles a few weeks ago to talk about her new film DOMINO, about a Beverly Hills model-turned bounty hunter. She arrived with a few Red Bulls in hand and director Tony Scott by her side, and she sounded pretty coherent for someone who'd just pulled an all-nighter. God, she's such a trooper. Check out what Keira Knightley and Tony Scott had to say about Domino.
|Keira Knightley||Tony Scott|
Scott: Be kind, she was up til 6am this morning.
Have you gotten sleep?
Knightley: No, I havent gotten any.
Where were you this morning?
I was shooting Pirates of the
You havent had any sleep?
Knightley: No. I had a shower, youll be very happy to hear.
Scott: Damn! You must have been fuckin brutal this morning.
Knightley: I was doing sword fighting and was getting so tired I thought, Im actually going to injure myself. And didnt hurt myself at all, but then when I got to the hotel this morning at seven, I fell out of the door of the car and cracked my knee on the side of the pavement. I didnt injure myself til I got back!
Keira, did you get a chance to meet Domino?
Knightley: I did a couple of times. Maybe twice before we actually started. I was working on another film, so I didnt get the kind of prep time I would have needed to done a characterization of Domino. Actually Tony said just to make up your own character. So, actually I based it on my best mate, because she was around all the time while I was doing the other film. And I would look at her and go, OK, I can keep her in my head. And then I could do it. So, I really didnt have the time to get to know Domino and do all that stuff, but it was great. She sent me pictures of her and taped interviews and stuff like that, just so I had an idea of what she thinks with and the stories, her stories. It was really, really helpful. And then I combined that with my best friend and did it that way.
Did the real Domino see the movie before she died?
Scott: She didnt. She saw lots of pieces, lots of sequences and its been misreported by the press that she didnt like it and that she was pissed off and that it didnt represent her in the right way. And everything she saw she loved. And the song you hear at the beginning and the end of the movie, Heads You Live, Tails You Die, thats Domino singing it. She wrote it. She sounds like Marianne Faithful to me. That was the model for her life. Thats how she conducted her life. I have to say this is a pretty wild existence. I have to say she has a little Janis Joplin in her.
How did you feel about doing a movie about someone you knew?
Scott: She inspired me to make the movie and Ive known her for 12 years, so that was what was great about it. As I get older I think Im learning about how to make movies better and once they are better I find its easier to actually access how to make a movie, because I access real people. So, real people are always the inspiration to make the movie. When I touch real life either in this movie or Man on Fire in Mexico City, you know when I cast a movie I always have a role model in real life and thats what inspires me to go to Keira or to Mickey or to Edgar. They are all where my ideas come from. And Denzel Washington in the other movie, Denzel we had a role model for him a white guy in Virginia. (Laughs)
Tony, why was Las Vegas chosen as the setting for the climax of this movie?
Scott: It was actually determined by Richard Kelly, who is the writer. Richard came up with the idea. And everybody in this movie is a real person in real life and Richard Kelly brought a lot of his own people to the story. And the story was really manufactured. Everybody is a real person, but the story is we took segments of Dominos real life and sequences in terms of bounty hunting and, but Richard Kelly manufactured the story. He manufactured the story sitting in the DMV trying to get his license back I guess he wrote the first pass in the DMV.
Did you add some of the transitions after you originally shot the film?
Scott: Yeah, because I f*cked up when I shot it and I didnt articulate the core story well enough so I thought, There are no rules in this movie. So I used a little bit of money for this family tree and people are unsure who is who and what has happened and I thought, I might as well do it, because this movie if you think it you can do it. If the characters think it, they should see it. So, I was confused myself in terms of it was a very complex story to tell. It doesnt feel like its out of place in this movie.
Keira, did you think it was a pretty complex story when you read the script?
Knightley: Yeah, it was a pretty complex story. I had problems from the word go, because I had four days off in between one film and the other. And I remember that on the plane over to London to L.A. to rehearse the next day I spent the entire plane ride breaking down the entire script and annotating everything just to get my head around it. I got to L.A. and by then it was a brand new script that was completely different from the one I just wrapped my head around! (Laughs.) Ok, so thats interesting. It was actually really cool, because obviously yes I did know where I was in the story. Yes, it did take putting your head around, but there was a ways to kind of feel that you didnt know what was going to happen next. And I feel that was kind of the right vibe for the film as well. So, I did feel a tiny bit like I was flying by the seat of my pants which was quite good I thought.
What was the contrast like going from being Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice to being Domino Harvey in this movie?
Knightley: It was hard. I was freaking out big time. The last couple of weeks on Pride was absolutely awful. I had Tony phoning up and asking me costume questions and all this about Domino and I couldnt get my head into it at all. And I was so freaked out by that, because Ive never had a problem getting my head into a character before. And then I was passing a hairdresser and I thought, This is how Im going to do it. Im going to cut Lizzy Bennet out of my hair. And I did, I cut all my hair off and I could actually, mentally look at the page and go, Yeah, this is it. I see it. Because, Im not looking at myself and seeing Lizzy Bennet every two seconds.
Scott: I think thats great what Keira said, because its such a contrast. I love as a director to be able to contrast my movies as much as she had. Pride & Prejudice to Domino are two different paths which is fantastic, because it makes you wake up every morning and go, Where the fuck am I? (Laughs) Good, because that Where the fuck am I? principle is actually saying Ive got to get on with it. Youve got to focus on it.
Knightley: It was great. Talk about starting in the deep end. The first couple of days I did that lap dance sequence with the gang members. That was my first thing. So, it was quite a wake up call and got it put me in the characters. So, that was interesting.
In the lap dance scene, was that all you or was there a body double?
Knightley: No! Its definitely a body double, I dont have that body. What a bum! (Laughs) I wish I had that bum! No, it was fantastic. We had a great experience where he called me up and goes, Come into the office I think you need to see something. I walk into the office and there are three naked women all standing there. And he goes, Which one do you want? Wow, so I picked my bum!
What was the basis of selection?
Knightley: Well, there were three lovely bottoms, they really were. But, I was trying to pick one that could be as close to mine as possible if mine were the perfect bottom which it isnt.
And then I had to learn the lap dance as well so I could be the top half of it. And the lap dance was actually a combination of two choreographers. It was Taryn, the girl whose bum you see, and my Mom who used to be a go-go dancer. So, my assistant Derek is sitting down when Im learning this dance routine that I was being taught by my Mom and Taryn, so it was a unique experience all in all. My assistant loved it; he had a great day.
Did you think at the end Domino would go back to her mom?
Knightley: Well, yeah. She did. She lived this kind of double life where she would be in East L.A. being a bounty hunter and then she would be up with her mom in a Beverly Hills mansion.
Scott: When I first met her she was actually living in a house on the hills in Beverly Hills. And there were (guns) on the wall and jack russell terriers running around. And her mom wouldnt let her live in the house with a gun, so she lived in this apartment over the garage. And the apartment had AK-47s and fatigues and Soldier of Fortune magazines. And thats how I met her. And thats how she ended up back with mum. So, my vision was to always like its a dream. Here is the girl who lives on the house up on the hill and grows up and ends up being a bounty hunter. Barely escaped with her life and ended up back at home.
The guns, the camouflage, etc. is that something you have in yourself or did you have to make it up?
Knightley: No, its not. And its weird, because I really enjoy doing action stuff. I love doing the swords. I love learning the nunchucks. And everything like that I really enjoyed. I thought Id enjoy the guns. Id shot like an air rifle before and thought, Yeah, thats cool. It freaked the hell out of me. It really freaked me out. And actually the bit with the machine guns, I got so freaked out that the first time I shot them I burst into tears. Just the power of them just totally turned me about. I couldnt handle it. And everyone was like, Do you want another go? And I was like, No, if I try this again it will so freak me out I wont be able to shoot, so lets just do it. The first time he shouts action and there are all these explosions and I meant to stand up into it, but my knees locked. I was so freaked out I couldnt make myself stand up. So, thats when he said, When I shout action just start screaming and I guarantee if you start screaming youll be able to stand up. And he was right and I did and it was fine. But it freaked the hell out of me! And I got burned! You scared me you bastard! One of the shells popped out of the back of the gun and it kept burning and landed on my neck. But, Ive got a fabulous scar. Im so proud of it. My war wound.
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