Director Forced to Apologize to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ Star After Insulting Her Acting

Keira Knightley receives apology
Credit: Disney

In 2003, Disney came out with one of its most successful live-action movies of all time, Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl. The film starred Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow, the worst pirate you’ve ever heard of. Curse of the Black Pearl also starred Orlando Bloom as Will Turner, Geoffrey Rush as Captain Barbossa, and Keira Knightley as Elizabeth Swann.

Keira Knightley Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Related: Magic Kingdom Welcomes Exciting New Pirates of the Caribbean Lounge!

Knightley was just 18 years old when she appeared on the big screen as the daughter of the Governor of Port Royal. Despite being so young, it was not the first time that Knightley had worked with Disney. She had previously starred as SabĂ© in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace and as Gwyn in The Wonderful World of Disney.

Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Related: Disney Greenlights “Weird” Pirates of the Caribbean Movie

Knightley would remain in the Disney family for years, returning for Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006), Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007), and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (2017).

The British actress has appeared in a number of other hit films, including Pride & Prejudice, Anna Karenina, Love Actually, and The Imitation Game. She has been lauded for her commitment to the roles.

The Imitation Game

Credit: The Weinstein Company

However, it seems that one director was not a big fan of Knightley’s and, after directing her in the movie Begin Again, decided to insult her acting.

John Carney said a number of cruel things about Knightley. He insulted her work ethic and said that she had the acting skills of a supermodel. He also jabbed at her singing skills.

“Keira has an entourage that follow her everywhere so it’s very hard to get any real work done, and so I was very ready to come back to Ireland and make films that nobody cared about who was in it or any of that crap. I think the real problem was that Keira wasn’t a singer and wasn’t a guitar player and it’s very hard to make music seem real if it’s not with musicians.

And I think the audience struggled a little bit with that in Begin Again. And as much as I tried to make it work I think that she didn’t quite come out as a guitar-playing singer-songwriter. So I really wanted to work with musicians and actors that could play their instruments properly and sing and stuff like that. I’ll never make a film with supermodels again.”

Begin Again

Credit: The Weinstein Company

It’s been years since Carney worked with Knightley, but it seems that he has realized how unkind he actually was. Carney released a lengthy apology, criticizing his own shortcomings.

Recently, in a phone interview, the conversation turned to a discussion about a past film, Begin Again, starring Keira Knightley. I said a number of things about Keira which were petty, mean, and hurtful. I’m ashamed of myself that I could say such things and I’ve been trying to account for what they say about me. In trying to pick holes in my own work, I ended up blaming someone else. That’s not only bad directing, that’s shoddy behaviour, that I am not in any way proud of. It’s arrogant and disrespectful. Keira was nothing but professional and dedicated during that film and she contributed hugely to its success. I wrote to Keira personally to apologise, but I wanted to publicly, and unreservedly apologise to her fans and friends and anyone else who I have offended. It’s not something that I could ever justify, and I will never repeat. 

Pirates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

When Knightley heard about Carney’s apology, she quickly and happily accepted it. She was ready to move on and look to the future.

“I was sort of thrilled. I’ve been called many things in my life, many worse things – but I’ve never been called a supermodel. Thanks! It was a very difficult shoot. We didn’t get on. It’s just a thing that happens sometimes and I say that with no blame. It takes two to tango. I think we can both be very proud of ourselves for the film that we made because it’s difficult when a lead actor and director don’t get on. And I don’t think you could tell that from watching the film. Begin Again is a wonderful film. It didn’t do what we hoped. So there was a level of disappointment attached.” 

PIrates of the Caribbean

Credit: Disney

Related: Details Leaked About Pirates of the Caribbean Prequel, Starring Johnny Depp!

Disney is currently working on creating a sixth film in the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. However, we do not know if Knightley or Bloom will be returning to reprise their roles.

What we do know is that there is a very low probability that Johnny Depp will be returning as Captain Jack Sparrow. Depp was reportedly dropped from Pirates 6 when he was accused of domestic abuse by his ex-wife Amber Heard. During his defamation case against Heard, Depp said that he would never return to Disney.

Mickey Mouse replace Johnny Depp

Credit: Disney

Depp stance has allegedly softened, and those close to him say that he would come back to the Mouse House if it were the right project. Disney executives have also said to “never say never” and appear to be open to working with the adored actor in the future.

Would you love to see Keira Knightley’s Elizabeth Swann return to Pirates of the Caribbean 6? Let us know in the comments!

About Krysten Swensen

A born and bred New England girl living the Disney life in Southern California. I love to read, to watch The Golden Girls, and love everything to do with Disney and Universal. I also love to share daily doses of Disney on my Disney Instagram @BrazzleDazzleDisney!

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