Keira Knightley needed movie rest

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Keira Knightley and Ralph Fiennes star in this historical drama set in late 18th-century England. Georgiana Spencer (Knightley) was in her teens when her mother (Charlotte Rampling) arranged her marriage to the Duke of Devonshire (Fiennes). As the Duchess, she endures a marriage that's loveless and rampant with infidelity on the part of her husband. After becoming inured to his lifestyle, Georgiana even raises the Duke's illegitimate daughter as her own. Meanwhile she takes an interest in local politics, working for Whig causes to become a darling of the common people. During her time the Duchess was also regarded as a fashion icon and a doting mother. Unfortunately, a passionate affair with Earl Grey (Dominic Cooper), the future Prime Minister, proves to be her undoing.
February 12th, 2011

Keira Knightley decided to reduce her movie workload because she was suffering from "exhaustion".

The 'Never Let Me Go' actress - who in the past has admitted she can see herself moving away from acting altogether - made the decision she needed a year off from lead roles after she was left drained after playing Georgiana Cavendish in 2008's 'The Duchess'.

She explained: "After I did 'The Duchess' I was absolutely exhausted and I just went, 'OK, I need to stop'. So I took a year off and I've been playing a lot of supporting roles recently.

"I haven't taken a lead, and I think that's partly because of that need to find a balance."

However, the 25-year-old star - who split from her boyfriend of five years Rupert Friend in December - accepts she is "incredibly privileged" to be able to pick and choose when she works.

Keira added: "I'm in an incredibly privileged position where I can choose my work. I suppose I'm looking to be stimulated in things that I can put myself into which teach me something about myself and the world."