Keira Knightley details her hysteria in "Dangerous Method"

Tue Nov 22, 2011 8:04am EST
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - In director David Cronenberg's new film about Carl Jung, Sigmund Freud and the birth of psychoanalysis, "A Dangerous Method", Keira Knightley plays Jung's formerly hysterical patient and lover Sabina Spielrein.

The movie debuts in U.S. theaters on Wednesday, and Knightley told Reuters back in September at the Toronto film festival that she initially turned down the role due to its spanking sex scenes opposite actor Michael Fassbender, who portrays Jung.

But the 26-year-old British actress said the promise of such a dream role and working with Cronenberg, Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen (who portrays Freud) was too enticing to walk away. It also helped that Cronenberg promised the spanking scenes would be clinical, not "sexy."

Q. Before the movie, what did you know of psychoanalysis?

A. "Absolutely nothing. I mean I had obviously heard of Freud and Jung, and I knew vaguely that it was all meant to be based on sexuality and that your parents came into it somewhere. But apart from that, I really didn't know anything. So it was a question of starting from scratch."

Q. You've said you read "a stack of books."

A: "A Jung biography. And then 'Memories, Dreams, Reflections' and the letters between Freud and Jung. It was Nietzsche, a little bit of papers by Freud, papers by Jung and then I found a book called 'Sabina Spielrein: A Forgotten Pioneer of Psychoanalysis.' That was Jung's notes on Sabina and then her dissertations and several papers, essays about her and then diary entries. So it was quite a stack."

Q. Did you ever think about studying psychology?

A. "No ... there are a lot of parallels in acting. You are trying to understand the world from a different point of view without judging it. Looking at it from a psychological point of view is something you do naturally as an actor anyway."   Continued...