Edie Knightley Righton probably won't grow up wanting to be Cinderella. That's because mom Keira Knightley won't let her daughter watch certain older Disney movies and her reasoning is actually quite simple. Knightley recently revealed she has banned certain Disney animated films from her home because she's concerned about what some of those classics may teach her three-and-a-half-year-old little girl about female empowerment. But don't worry, there are certain, more feminist Disney princesses that Knightley fully endorses for her daughter's enjoyment.
Knightley opened up about her complicated relationship with Disney movies during a visit to The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Tuesday, Oct. 16, to promote her upcoming movie, The Nutcracker and the Four Realms. Specifically, she spoke about her problems with Cinderella, which she doesn't plan on showing to her daughter anytime soon. In fact, with a margarita in her hand, she told host Ellen DeGeneres that Cinderella was "banned" in her house "because she waits around for a rich guy to rescue her." Knightley offered some advice for her daughter and poor ol' Cinderelly, too: "Don't! Rescue yourself. Obviously!"
Knightley was also sad to say her little girl won't be meeting Ariel anytime soon, either. "This is the one that I'm quite annoyed about because I really like the film," she said, "but Little Mermaid [is banned, too]. I mean, the songs are great, but do not give your voice up for a man. Hello!"
It won't be easy for Knightley to resist making the film part of Edie's world, though. "The problem with The Little Mermaid is I love The Little Mermaid!" Knightley said. "That one's a little tricky—but I'm keeping to it."
As for which Disney movies her daughter can see, Knightley prefers strong female-fronted films like Finding Dory, which stars DeGeneres. "Dory is a big favorite in our house," Knightley said. "Frozen is huge. Moana, totally fine." No surprise either, since both of those movies feature young women doing it for themselves.
This tactic of banning rather retrograde Disney movies from her daughter's viewing list seems to be working. Knightley revealed that her daughter isn't looking to be a princess when she grows up, but instead a dentist or maybe even a lion. "Which I think is slightly more problematic," Knightly joked while on Ellen. "But she roars very well." See, she's already using that voice of hers.
Knightley, meanwhile, has certainly been using her voice in her latest press tour for both the Nutcracker, which hits theaters Nov. 2, and the September release Colette, where she plays Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, the revolutionary feminist writer. And it's clear that she is interested in portraying the kind of women she hopes her daughter aspires to be. In an interview with Variety, Knightley talked about what drew her to the Colette role. "It’s wonderful to play inspiring women and to get their stories and their voices out there," she said. "Within her writing, Colette was questioning the idea of gender and the idea of what was naturally feminine as opposed to society’s take on being feminine."
Knightley also talked about the need for more female directors in Hollywood. "I think that they need to be supported," Knightley said of needing more women behind the scenes, adding that she thinks the "female point of view is very important." As is making sure those women get paid fairly. When speaking with Elle last week, Knightley admitted that she now makes sure she is being paid equally to her male co-stars. “It didn’t even occur to me,” Knightley says of asking about money. “It felt like something you couldn’t question. But I do ask now, and I can safely say that in my last two films, I have not made less than the men I’ve been working with.”
Knightley clearly wants to set a good example both on and off-screen for her little girl, who she'd rather see go build her own snowman than wait around for a man to do it for her.