In a disturbing new ad for the UK charity Women's Aid, Keira Knightley is shown being brutally beaten by her jealous boyfriend.
In the video at left, Knightley leaves the set of a movie she is working on and drives home to her apartment. She discovers her boyfriend has already broken a mirror and there is blood on the floor. He asks Knightley about kissing her co-star on the set and throws a towel in her face. She says that wasn't in the script, looks at the camera and asks to cut. He knocks her to the ground and kicks her repeatedly as the camera pulls back to show that they are actually on a set. The final screen says, "Isn't it time someone called cut?"
The ad breaks many of the stereotypes about victims of domestic violence by having Knightley play a character like herself - a young, glamorous film actress - rather than a meek housewife. The ad is obviously inspired by Rihanna, and tries to get across the message that even a woman who is confident and successful may be experiencing abuse at home.
"I wanted to take part in this advert for Women's Aid because while domestic violence exists in every section of society we rarely hear about it," said Knightley. "Domestic violence affects one in four women at some point in their lifetime and kills two women every week." The ad was directed by Joe Wright, who directed Knightley in Atonement and Pride and Prejudice. Both were not paid for the ad, which is scheduled begin appearing this month on TV and in theaters only in the U.K. The ad agency is still negotiating with the group that clears ads for TV broadcast. The creators are campaigning to keep the graphic images of the beating in the ad, but they may be forced to edit it down for TV.