Keira Knightley on taking a pay cut to appear on Broadway: 'It’s very rare that I get offered interesting roles'

'When something like this comes along, you go, 'I can sink my teeth into it and not just be the supportive girlfriend or wife''

Jack Shepherd
Wednesday 04 November 2015 11:43
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Keira Knightley and musician James Righton married in a low-key ceremony in the south of France
Keira Knightley and musician James Righton married in a low-key ceremony in the south of France

Numerous Hollywood actors have taken to the stage this year: Benedict Cumberbatch, Bradley Cooper, Nicole Kidman to name a few. Kiera Knightley joined them earlier this week, performing in the Broadway adaption of Therese Raquin.

The production by the Roundabout Theatre Company - a company that has previously worked with Jessica Lange and Clive Owen - pays a scaled rate of $1,300 (£845) a week. Compared to other big broadway companies which pay upwards of $40,000, this is peanuts.

So, why did the actress take the pay cut? "It’s very rare that I get offered interesting roles; there are very, very few out there for women,” she told The Hollywood Reporter.

“When something like this comes along, you go, ‘I can sink my teeth into it and not just be the supportive girlfriend or wife,’ which can get rather boring.”

Knightley plays a woman, Therese , who is unhappily married to her first cousin. Eventually, she escapes the suffocating marriage via a murder plot with her newly found lover.

Judith Light, who plays her aunt in the play, added: "Of course we need more gender parity on Broadway, not just with playwrights, but directors and producers and actors too.

“This is an important issue that's been going on for a long time — it’s 2015, I can’t believe we’re still talking about this.”

Therese Raquin is currently the only play on Broadway penned by a woman.

Keira Knightley and Matt Ryan on Therese Raquin's opening night

Co-star Gabriel Ebert went on to say: “We need to be telling stories about women and for women. This is an important time to educate girls and give them heroines they can believe in."

Knightley had been offered the role twice before in two separate productions but had turned both down.

"I hadn’t quite gotten what it was [before], and as soon as I read this one, I thought, 'Well, f**k, okay, I completely get this. This is extraordinary,'" she said. "I feel really lucky that they offered it to me again, when I was actually up for the challenge.”

Therese Raquin will runs through until 3 January.

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