She sat down with The Hollywood Reporter to talk about how she slipped into the role of Sabine Spielrein, a Russian woman suffering from heavy psychological issues, for her upcoming film.
In a more harrowing scene of David Cronenberg's "A Dangerous Method," Knightley's character was placed in a very compromising position. She was to be spanked.
The scene was almost uncomfortable enough for the actress to turn down the role that may very well earn her another Oscar nod.
"When I first read the script, I thought, 'The script was fascinating, and it's David, and I really want to work with David, but I read those two scenes and just went, 'I don't think that I can do that,' particularly because it's the age of the Internet; it's gonna be everywhere; I don't want that out there'... I phoned him up to really turn it down... I said to him, 'Look, I love you, I love the script, I love the character, but I really don't know that I can play those scenes'... He said, 'Look, if I'm gonna do them, then they're gonna be clinical; they're not gonna be sexy, they're not gonna be voyeuristic in that way.' And I thought, 'Okay, well I can understand that. As long as it's clinical and it's not some, sort of, weird sexy spanking thing.'"
So the preparation for this, it would take something beyond creativity or professionalism. It took something special: Vodka.
"There was a box which he hit, so he was nowhere near me, thank God! I did actually say to Michael before one of the scenes -- I was like, 'I've got a security guard outside. You touch me and he's gonna break your legs!' And he was like, 'Keira, you're tied to a bed. You're not really in a position to say that.' I said, 'I guess you're right.'... [I did] a couple of shots of vodka -- definitely -- beforehand, and then a couple of glasses of champagne as a celebration of never having to do that again!"
For more, click over to The Hollywood Reporter.