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Knightley Shines Behind 'King'

With the one-two punch of "Bend It Like Beckham" and "Pirates of The Caribbean", Keira Knightley has quickly become one of Hollywood's hottest young stars. She hopes to continue her winning ways, playing Guinevere in the new summer epic "King Arthur."

The English actress plays the tenacious Briton who helps Arthur (Clive Owen) defend Britain against the threat of invading Saxons, and lead the isle into a new age.

"We said that Guinivere would definitely be a warrior and a very strong individual," Knightley tells The Early Show co-anchor Hannah Storm.

To make it believable, Knightley went through rigorous training for three months before the film started.

She says, "For me, it did mean a lot of weightlifting, because you couldn't believe I could fight if I was the size I am now or was then. I was tiny when I started. So I had to build up the kind of upper body and work on that. But it was great; I really enjoyed it."

In "Pirates," she had begged to do a sword fight, but was denied. Now in "King Arthur," Knightley says he was very happy to do all her stunts without a double and use knives, axes and all sorts of weapons of the day.

"I was proud of myself," she says. "It just so happened I had three weeks off before the start of the fight scene so I had a fantastic stunt girl who took me through it step by step so I managed to do it by myself."

Knightley is also enjoying her career, working non-stop. She says, "I've been doing interesting projects and I love movies and I've always loved watching them and it's fantastic to spend most of my time on film sets. I've been having a great time."

She just completed work on "The Jacket," a film with Adrien Brodie, in which she got to meet her celebrity crush, George Clooney.

"I got star struck," she says. "It's never happened quite like that before. He produces the film, and he came for the first day of shooting and I think I managed to say 'Hi' and 'Bye,' and that was about it."

It seems stardom has not gotten to Knightley's head.

"I've been working nonstop so I haven't managed to step back and get freaked out by anything yet. It's been really great," she says.

On a personal level, she recently moved out from her parents' home, though she notes she hasn't had time to shop for furniture for her own place yet.

Some Facts About Keira Knightley

  • Keira Knightley was born in Teddington, London, England, on March 26, 1985.
  • Knightley was diagnosed with dyslexia as a small child.
  • In 1994, Knightley's first major role came in the romantic feature "A
    Village Affair" (1994) as Natasha Jordan.
  • Knightley appeared in the drama "Innocent Lies" (1996) and the television features "Treasure Seekers" (1996) and "Coming Home" (1998).
  • She was cast alongside Natalie Portman in the 1999 George Lucas sci-fi
    series "Star Wars: Episode I- The Phantom Menace".
  • In 2002, she found her breakthrough role in writer-director Gurinder
    Chadha's unlikely sleeper hit "Bend It Like Beckham."
  • In 2003, Knightley was snatched up by Disney for the big screen
    blockbuster "Pirates of the Caribbean."
  • Later that year, she starred in "Love Actually" (2003) as a bride who
    realizes her groom's best man is madly in love with her.
  • In 2004, Knightley plays Queen Guinevere in the action movie "King Arthur."
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