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Keira 'too skinny' to play Duchess

Published: Tuesday, September 9, 2008, 16:14 [IST]

[an error occurred while processing this directive] London (ANI): English actress Keira Knightley, who had been criticised for being too thin in her latest role in 'The Duchess', arrived at the Toronto Film Festival wearing a strapless grey gown showing off her slender frame. The biopic has Knightley, 23, playing the role of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, an 18th century society beauty and great-great-great-great aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales.

According to a famous portrait of Georgiana by Thomas Gainsborough, it could be seen that the lady had an ample figure, which is considered to be the fashionable silhouette of the day. But in the movie there was no attempt to hide Knightley's naturally skinny frame, and it has lead critics to say that the actress has been miscast for the part.

[an error occurred while processing this directive] "Knightley looks woefully, painfully thin throughout... it's hard to listen to what she's saying when all you want to do is feed her chips," the Daily Telegraph review noted. Another critic added that her being overly thin was not appropriate for the role, as it was not the fashion at that time. "She was far too skinny... in a time when the hour-glass figure was fashionable," the critic said.

But even with Knightley's figure coming under scrutiny, others have praised the film, saying it is a possible Oscar contender, with Ralph Fiennes'' performance as the cold-hearted Duke of Devonshire singled out for praise. For the actress, it was an honour to have been given such a role.

"It was such an honour to actually be given this role. It was so incredible. There are relatively few leading roles for women, so to actually have one land on your doorstep was fantastic," Knightley said. "The fact that people are now liking it is so exciting, so I don''t think you can ask for anything more than that," she added.

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