behind the seams keira knightley

Price and Predjudice/Focus Features

‘Behind the Seams’: Why Keira Knightley is the queen of costume drama

Keira Knightley dominates the box office for historical dramas. What does that tell us about Hollywood?


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw

Internet Culture

Published Oct 29, 2020   Updated Oct 29, 2020, 6:33 pm CDT

When Oscar season arrives, historical dramas always dominate the costume design category. Gorgeous costumes are a key selling point for the genre, with filmmakers trying to balance historical accuracy with catering to modern tastes. In this video from our new YouTube series Behind the Seams, we explore the historical costume genre through the lens of its most famous star: Keira Knightley.

From Pirates of the Caribbean to Pride and Prejudice, Keira Knightley’s most famous movies are historical dramas. She built her career around the genre, specializing in playing strong women who fight for love and independence in male-dominated settings. Her filmography provides an ideal starting point to examine Hollywood’s attitude to historical costume design, including the nebulous concept of what “historical accuracy” really is.

If you enjoy video essays like Every Frame a Painting, you’ll love Behind the Seams! New episodes will arrive weekly, decoding the world of costume design on film. We’re planning to cover a wide range of topics from blockbusters to beloved cult favorites, providing deep dives into specific movies, and analyzing popular costume tropes. Subscribe now on YouTube! We already have another episode on the channel, exploring the genius of Mad Max: Fury Road‘s post-apocalyptic style.

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*First Published: Oct 29, 2020, 11:09 am CDT