Why Keira Knightley Used to Be Afraid of The Nutcracker

33-year-old actress dishes on why she joined Disney's rendition of the famous ballet

By Melanie Camacho Oct 30, 2018 10:32 PMTags
Watch: Keira Knightley Was Afraid of the "Nutcracker" at First

Cue The Nutcracker songs.

Just in time for the holidays, Disney is revealing their rendition of the world-famous ballet The Nutcracker. The studio is releasing their film version called The Nutcracker and the Four Realms and it includes all of the classic characters, such as The Sugarplum Fairy (Keira Knightley), Klara (Mackenzie Foy), Flower Realm King (Eugenio Derbez), The Ballerina (Misty Copeland), and Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman).

Although Knightley is a core character in the film, The Nutcracker didn't always hold a special place in her heart. The Colette star told E! News about her first impression of the Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky work as well as what her 3-year-old daughter Edie thought of her mom's bubbly character's high-pitched voice.  

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Knightley didn't grow up dreaming to be the "sugary sweet"—as she puts it—Sugar Plum Fairy that she plays in the film. In fact, she she said she was scared of the whole production as a child when her mom took her to see it when she was really young. "My mom took me to see it when I was 3, and I was absolutely terrified and I hid under the seat. The mice, the mice, the mice. Terrifying," the Oscar nominee revealed.

Years later when she was six, her mom, who had a friend who worked in the ballet, took her back again for a second shot. It was this time that Knightley first truly connected with the ballet. And the mice, apparently.

When she was that age, Knightley explained, "I was a real tomboy and I was not interested the Sugar Plum fairy at all."

"I just wanted to be the mice, I wanted to be the Mouse King and my mom bought me a sword afterwards and I would run around pretending to be the Mouse King," she continued. "I've got a history. What's funny is, watching the ballet as a kid, I never knew what the story is, I was just like, 'Whoa. It's magic. It's a magical world.' That's what you take away from isn't it? It's more the magic than anything else."

WALT DISNEY STUDIOS/Moviestore/Shutterstock

Little did a younger Knightley know that she would do a 180 and happily take on the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy. For the 33-year-old, she dished knew that she wanted to take on the project because of the tone of her character.

"She's a character. One of the main reasons I wanted to do this was I was very aware that I was doing a lot of work with serious subject matters and I just wanted the opportunity to play somebody that was just so totally silly… like it's just silly. It's completely over the top. I'm bouncing off the walls. I'm a fairy. I'm a sugary, sugary very sweet fairy," she explained.

The actress had no time to waste. She diligently began creating the cheery persona of her character by giving her a high-pitched voice. She even got her daughter's seal of approval after testing it out on Edie and some of her peers. "I took my daughter to the playground, and there were some 6-year-olds in the sandpits. I tried it out on them and they laughed as well, and I thought, 'So there you go then...it's sugary sweet.'"

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The star also said she tried to get creative by incorporating the popular Sugar Plum Fairy song in the film. She then came up with a funny laugh that sounds like the original melody. Of course, she couldn't get the song out of her head.

To add on the spectacular essence of the character, Knightley said she "had prosthetics over my eyebrows." As predicted, it brought the whole look together and can easily make any viewer shocked that it's really Keira Knightley beneath it all. "We painted these purple eyebrows up higher and then I had all [my face] painted white and then with pink sparkly stuff all over me and very long, fake eyelashes. I mean it was quite a look," she shared with E! News.

Despite starring in a Disney movie of her own, the Pride and Prejudice actress told Ellen DeGeneres a few weeks ago that she forbids her daughter from seeing a few of of the classics. Knightley admitted to DeGeneres that Cinderella is one of these banned movies "because she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her. Don't! Rescue yourself. Obviously!" The Little Mermaid is also on that list. "Do not give your voice up for a man!" she said.

There are a few acceptable Disney films allowed in the Knightley household. Finding Dory, which stars DeGeneres funny enough, is permitted as well as Moana and Frozen

The Nutcracker and The Four Realms comes out in theaters November 2.