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Why Keira Knightley Had ‘One Of The Strangest Experiences’ Of Her Career Filming Silent Night

Keira Knightley in Silent Night

This story contains spoilers for the upcoming film Silent Night. There’s a plot detail in Silent Night that you might not want to know about. However, it’s really hard to talk about Silent Night without mentioning this, so proceed with caution.

Prior to Silent Night having its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, if you had brought up Keira Knightley in a Christmas movie, an audience member instantly would have gone to Love, Actually, a staple of the holiday season (even if it’s a tad sarcastic and dark in ways some might not appreciate). Well, Knightley wanted to go even darker with her next Holiday movie, which arrives in theaters in December, just in time for the entire family to gather together and celebrate the season with a film.

Written and directed by Camille Griffin, Silent Night exists in a world where the entire population is succumbing to a deadly cloud as it makes its way across the surface of the planet. The end is inevitable, and this British family -- led by Nell (Keira Knightley) and Simon (Matthew Goode) -- has chosen to spend its last day celebrating Christmas with most of their loved ones. They’ve accepted their fates… for the most part. And they’re hesitant to take something that has been handed out by the UK government called the EXIT pill. Don’t they trust their government overlords? “Oh God, no,” exclaims Annabelle Wallis’s character, Sandra. “They killed Diana!”

It’s remarkable just how timely the subject matter of Silent Night ends up being, what with debates over pandemic vaccines and how many would choose to spend their final days. But while speaking with CinemaBlend from the Toronto International Film Festival, Knightley explains that filming a movie about the end of the world DURING a global pandemic was particularly unsettling. She told us:

Because the last thing we filmed, and we were one of the last productions going in London before the lockdown, was our death scenes. So the whole thing… I think this film was strange enough, anyway, but the experience of shooting it going into this pandemic, and suddenly we’re making a film about everyone dying, and the shops being raided. And as we’re filming, it’s like, ‘Oh, well, actually, there’s no toilet roll anymore, and you can’t get any pasture anywhere.’ And we’re going, ‘Oh damn, we’ve been talking about the fact that the bottled water has run out.’ But we didn’t even think that toilet roll would run out. So as we were going, I think it very much shifted in those last couple of days of going, ‘OK, how much can we shoot? Should we be shooting?’ And we’re shooting our death scenes from this kind of weird thing. It was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had on a film set.

Silent Night takes a very human approach to an unconventional situation… though one that’s far more recognizable thanks to these last two years than I really care for it to be. There’s humor from a spot-on cast. But there’s also more than enough conversation fodder to keep you talking long after the humdinger of a final scene has played, and the end credits have rolled.

Right now, [Silent Night is aiming for](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SilentNight(2021_film) a December 3 release date, so make sure it’s on your radar as the holidays sneak up.

Sean O'Connell

Movie junkie. Infatuated with comic-book films. ReelBlend cohost. Resident dad. Extroverted introvert. Wants to see the Snyder Cut. Managing Director at CinemaBlend.