'Love Actually' Casting Director Admits Keira Knightley Was "Too Young for the Part" of Juliet

She was 18 at the time.

Mark (Andrew Lincoln) from Love Actually holding up Merry Christmas sign
(Image credit: Love Actually/Universal Pictures)

Love Actually would absolutely have not been the same without Keira Knightley, but many people have pointed out over the years since it was released that, at 18, the actress was really quite young to be playing a newly married woman.

In a new interview, the movie's casting director, Fiona Weir, has agreed with this assessment, but while maintaining that Knightley was—obviously—still a fantastic choice for the film.

"She was quite young when everyone thought she was older than she was because she'd been acting since she was little," Weir told The Messenger.

"She was, really strictly speaking, too young for the part. But she had this wonderful, open, joyous quality which Richard [Curtis] really wanted. And I think it worked, I think we believed that she was married to Chiwetel [Ejiofor] and the object of great love for Andrew Lincoln."

In Love Actually, Knightley marries the character of Peter (played by Ejiofor), and Peter's best man Mark (Lincoln) declares his undying love for her via those iconic message boards, standing outside her home pretending to be carol singers. (I suspect this sentence will only make sense to you if you've actually seen the movie. If you haven't, WYD??)

Since we all agree that Knightley was a bold but ultimately genius choice for the role of Juliet, you might be interested to know that she was only able to do it at all thanks to some artful scheduling, given that she was just about to go off to film Pirates of the Caribbean.

"They wanted to whisk her off, so we had to do quite a bit of clever scheduling to make sure that she could finish being Juliet before she went off to fight pirates with Johnny Depp," Weir revealed. Well phew, all's well that ends well!

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.