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Keira Knightley : 'I Wish I Had Gone to Drama School'

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Jul 11, 2014 | 8:31am EDT

Keira KnightleyParamount Pictures via Everett Collection

British actress Keira Knightley wishes she had attended drama school to learn her trade instead of making all her mistakes in the public eye.

After several roles in TV programmes and films as a child, Knightley made her big screen debut aged 14 in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace in 1999.

She was thrust into the spotlight after starring in Bend It Like Beckham in 2002 and became a big-name Hollywood star a year later when she appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean.

However, the actress admits her early success left her little chance to learn the finer points of the profession and she was often subjected to "brutal" criticisms of her performances.

She tells British newspaper The Guardian, "I've definitely done all my learning publicly. And I've had to develop a thick skin because of that. So yeah, there would have been a comfortable way of doing it where I went to drama school and could have made tons of mistakes."

"If you could choose how success happens, that's what I would have chosen. But of course you can't. And if a moment comes, you have to jump, because it probably won't come around again. So I chose to jump, knowing it was going to be brutal because I hadn't learned enough. I didn't know what I was meant to be doing."

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