Knightley shines light on playing whistle-blower in Official Secrets
LONDON English actress Keira Knightley turns to the 2003 Iraq War for her latest film Official Secrets.
Currently showing here, it tells the true story of Ms Katharine Gun, a former intelligence translator at Britain's global spy centre who was charged with breaking the Official Secrets Act for leaking a top-secret US memo that requested Britain's help in spying on non-aligned UN Security Council members to win a key vote authorising war.
The British government opted in 2004 not to prosecute Ms Gun after she pleaded not guilty.
Here, 34-year-old Knightley - who has two daughters aged four and three months with English musician-husband James Righton - talked about playing the whistle-blower.
Few people know Ms Gun's story.
"I remember the lead-up to that conflict really well and I do not remember anything about this story... I thought, 'Wow, this is a really interesting thing to shine a light on.' Particularly when you look at the conflict in Iraq in terms of history, you think, 'Well, that is a piece of the puzzle that feels very important and that I think people should know more about.'"
Why is it important for people to know more about it?
"It is the questions that it brings. Government accountability, legality of conflict and if perhaps conflicts are not legal, who is held accountable? How do we want our societies to work?"
How much of it was a wake-up call to our generation to pay more attention to politics and foreign affairs?
"Definitely within my friendship group it was such a moment of disillusionment because we all went to the streets... and the idea that they weren't listening and that feeling of disillusionment and shock at certain political figures maybe not telling the truth, I think has had a major impact."
Being a mother, how do these things play on your mind for the next generation?
"It is going to be climate change, isn't it? It seems apparent. And if you read anything about climate change, it seems that it is going to be the massive thing that younger generations are going to be fighting against. The question for our generation is, are we doing enough?"
How has the film helped you to understand what it takes for someone to risk everything by whistle-blowing?
"There will be many people who don't believe what Katharine did was right. There will be many people who do believe what Katharine did was right. What you can't question is her courage. The idea that somebody had a moral reaction to something and put everything on the line for something she believed was right in order to save lives is an extraordinary thing. Would I have the courage to do that? I don't know."
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