Why ‘Star Wars’ Star Keira Knightley Mistakenly Thought She Played Queen Padme Amidala in ‘Phantom Menace’

Keira Knightley is known for popular films like The Pirates of the Caribbean and The Imitation Game. But many may have forgotten that the actor also once starred in a Star Wars movie. 

As it turns out, Knightley herself had some trouble remembering details about her Star Wars role. In a recent interview, she mistakenly mentioned that she played Queen Padmé Amidala in Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace

Keira Knightley
Keira Knightley | Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Keira Knightley has been acting for nearly three decades

As the daughter of theater actors, Knightley started her acting career at a very young age. She got her first agent at the age of 6 and began appearing in commercials and television series.  When she was 10-years-old, the British actor landed a role in the 1995 film, Innocent Lies, starring Stephen Dorff and Gabrielle Anwar.

But Knightley’s breakthrough role came in 2002, with the British comedy film, Bend It Like Beckham. Since then, she’s appeared in numerous blockbuster films.

The actor has received two Academy Award nominations for Best Actress — one in 2005 for her portrayal of Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice (2005, and another in 2014 for her performance as Joan Clarke in The Imitation Game.

Keira Knightley attends the Chanel Fine Jewelry Dinner
Keira Knightley | Angela WeissAFP/Getty Images

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Keira Knightley was Sabé in ‘Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace’

When Knightley was 14, she landed the role of Sabé in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. Serving under the Royal House of Naboo, Sabé is one of Queen Padme Amidala’s (Natalie Portman) most important handmaidens.

Her duty is to protect Queen Padmé Amidala at any cost. So she often acts as a decoy, disguising herself as the Queen, while Amidala dresses as a handmaiden.

Throughout the film, Sabé switches roles with Amidala. Her main goal becomes protecting the Queen from the Trade Federation after they invade Naboo. They often communicate with each other through subtle hand signals and gestures. 

Knightley mistakenly remembered that she played Padme Amidala in ‘Star Wars: Episode 1’

In a recent interview with Comingsoon.net, Knightley was asked about her role in Star Wars: Episode 1 – The Phantom Menace. It’s been over 20 years since the film was released, and the actor made a little make when trying to remember her role. 

“Wait a minute, who did I play?” she asked. “Was I not Padme?”

Even after the interviewer reminded her that she played Sabé, Knightley still struggled to remember. “Oh, I was Sabé, ok,” she replied.

The actor then admitted that she only saw the film once after it was released. And she said she hasn’t seen it since. When asked about where Sabé would be now, Knightley joked that she hoped she’s doing well. 

“I hope she lived a long and happy life,” Knightley said with a laugh. “Somewhere on a planet far, far away.”

Considering how long it’s been, how many movies she’s made, and how she had to pretend to be Amidala in the Star Wars film, Knightley should get a pass for remembering that childhood role wrong. 

And fun fact, Knightley wasn’t the only Hollywood bigshot to serve Amidala in The Phantom Menace. Academy Award-winning actor/filmmaker Sophia Coppola portrayed Saché, another one of the Queen’s royal handmaidens.