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She is the recipient of an Empire Award and has been nominated for two BAFTA Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and two Academy Awards.
Knightley began acting as a child on television and made her feature film debut in 1995, before making her breakthrough with the 2002 film Bend It Like Beckham.
While growing up, Knightley performed in a number of local amateur productions, which included After Juliet, written by her mother, and United States, written by her drama teacher.
She focused on art, history, and English literature while studying at the Esher College, but left after a year to pursue an acting career.
Later that year, she reprised her role as Elizabeth Swann in the second and third productions of the Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The two sequels were conceived in 2004, with the writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio developing a story arc that would span both films.
In the same year, Knightley starred as a pregnant drug addict in Gillies Mac Kinnon's drama film Pure.
Co-starring Molly Parker and Harry Eden, the film had its world premiere at the 2002 Toronto International Film Festival.
She is still a slow reader and cannot read out loud.
Derek Elley of Variety wrote highly of her performance and screen presence: "Looking every bit a star, Knightley, who's shown more spirit than acting smarts so far in her career really steps up to the plate here".