Keira Knightley to Star in Upcoming Comedy Drama 'Misbehaviour'

Knightley's newest feature will be based on the historical events of the landmark 1970 Miss World pageant.

Anna Karenina
Focus Features

Keira Knightley is known to have an affinity for period films, and her latest will be no exception. Knightley is set to lead the cast of BAFTA-winning director Philippa Lowthorpe‘s Misbehaviour, which follows the true story of the 1970 Miss World pageant and how the night’s unexpected turn of events launched the Women’s Liberation Movement to fame. A story both set in the 1970s and about strong, powerful women make this right up Knightley’s alley. But with its likeness to some of her other films, what aspects of this story will separate it from the rest of her filmography?

The 1970 Miss World pageant garnered recognition as one of the major events in altering the logic behind Western ideals of beauty. With more than 100 million viewers, the program was the most-viewed show in the world at the time, and the live broadcast was interrupted by the Women’s Liberation Movement invading the stage, who made the claim that such beauty contests were degrading to women. There was further backlash once the show resumed due to the announcement of Miss Grenada as the winner of that year’s competition, being the first black woman to ever be crowned this title.

There is no way to tell what sort of approach the film will take with how it executes this narrative, but it will likely build up to the historical show itself by showing how the events of the night came to be. The events themselves are inherently politically charged, so it is almost inevitable that the tone of the film will follow suit. While Knightley’s films are rarely completely removed from political or social issues, this may well be one of the most timely and relevant stories of all that she’s tackled. While the events might have taken place in 1970, the standard of beauty to which women are held is still overtly problematic.

While this is technically another period piece, Knightley’s other pictures that fall under this category generally take place no later than the mid-twentieth century. She has yet to tackle a major role in a film set in the 1970s, and this time period alone will distinguish her role here from others she has done in the past. It will be interesting to see how she handles the material of these events in order to present them with a sense of realism and historical accuracy. However, the exact character she will be playing in the film has yet to be announced.

Others who have been set to co-star in the film are Gugu Mbatha-Raw (A Wrinkle in TimeThe Cloverfield Paradox) and Jessie Buckley (Beast). The film will be distributed by Pathé in the UK, France, and Switzerland, but will be up for sale at the upcoming American Film Market this year.

Director Philippa Lowthorpe’s most recent work includes directing episodes of The Crown and Call the Midwife. Although this is Knightley’s first collaboration with her, the pair’s individual work histories make them appear to be a perfect fit. The powerful story that Misbehaviour brings to the table is one that will likely draw in a decent audience, along with Knightley’s name bringing the film a bit of star power. It likely won’t be released until late 2019 at the earliest, but it’s a film that we’ll definitely be hearing plenty more about in the near future.

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I write about film and occasionally other stuff. Xavier Dolan enthusiast. Trying to read books before seeing their film adaptations and sometimes succeeding.