Keira Comes To Town

Actress Keira Knightley in Chiswick filming drama thriller Never Let Me Go

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Keira Knightley


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Along with numerous trucks, a large crew and a troop of grey uniform clad children, Keira Knightley has been in Chiswick this week filming scenes for at the Town Hall.

The actress is starring alongside Andrew Garfield and Carey Mulligan in the drama thriller Never Let Me go. Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel published in 2005, Never Let Me Go is an alternate history story of a woman who, as she reflects on her private school years in the English countryside, reunites with her two friends to face the dark secrets tied to their communal past.

It is the third book in what The Times' book critic called Kazuo Ishiguro's Bewilderment Trilogy.

As Kathy, a 31-year-old carer living in England in the late 1990s, looks back at her school days at Hailsham. What initially seems a near-idyll of benign teachers, lively students, stimulating classes, sporting triumphs on the playing fields, midnight gossips in the dorm and friendly strolls around the pond with its bulrushes and wildfowl assumes an increasingly out-of-true aspect.

"With Never Let Me Go, Ishiguro brilliantly accomplishes what he was striving towards in those works. Where fantasy from Lewis Carroll to Kafka gave him his blueprint for The Unconsoled, and the golden-age murder mystery tale hovered behind When We Were Orphans, he now selects a scenario that wouldn't be out of place in science fiction, and, against the odds, suffuses it with human warmth and distress.

"As Kathy, on the brink of a crucial career change, takes stock of the first three decades of her life, she draws you into absorbed involvement with her story. Although the wider shape of things is indistinct, vivid details abound. Hailsham's rituals and routines are engrossingly re-counted. Like all other Ishiguro narrators, Kathy is impeccably lucid even when — especially when — confronting the cryptic. The prose is scrupulously precise. But there are odd little veerings of mood, sudden brief drops into stoical-sounding melancholy. Passed by quickly in her narrative, vaguely peculiar phrasings and occurrences hook themselves puzzlingly into your mind. Why does the Hailsham syllabus place quite so intense an emphasis on "creativity"? Isn't the cosseting of the students being carried rather too far by almost weekly medical checks? Can it be true that the authorities are so worried about the dangers of smoking that works such as the Sherlock Holmes stories are banned from the library because of their high nicotine content? Aren't people a little overconscious of the dangers of being overheard? Why does free-spoken Miss Lucy leave the school so abruptly?"

Directed by Mark Romanek, Alex Garland's screenplay based on the novel will be in cinemas next year.

June 12, 2009