Keira Knightley doesn’t like the way women are portrayed in modern-day films.
The actress, 32, opened up about how she chooses her movie roles, saying she prefers period pieces because women are simply treated better.
“I don’t really do films set in the modern-day because the female characters nearly always get raped,” she told Variety. “I always find something distasteful in the way women are portrayed, whereas I’ve always found very inspiring characters offered to me in historical pieces.”
Knightley said she’s impressed with the strong female characters she sees on television and streaming services and is optimistic about the future of films.
“There’s been some improvement,” she said. “I’m suddenly being sent scripts with present-day women who aren’t raped in the first five pages and aren’t simply there to be the loving girlfriend or wife.”
Knightley’s latest historical drama Collette follows the legendary French author as she tries to fight back against her husband who’s passing off her work as his own.
The actress said she felt empowered playing such a strong female character, especially in the face of Hollywood’s sexual harassment scandal.
“It’s wonderful to play inspiring women and to get their stories and their voices out there,” she said, adding that there are “certainly are parallels,” between Collette’s story and the current climate in Hollywood.
“The fact that the movie is coming out right now isn’t a surprise,” continued. “Women’s stories are suddenly viewed as important.”
She also opened up about working with Harvey Weinstein, saying she was never harassed by the disgraced movie mogul.
“My experience with Harvey Weinstein was always very professional. He was very good on the films we made. I was aware of his reputation of being a bully,” she said. “He was famous for phoning people in the middle of the night and screaming at them. He didn’t do that to me, and he certainly never asked me for massages or anything like that.”
The Oscar-winning producer has been accused of sexual misconduct by over 60 women since The New York Times and The New Yorker documented decades of alleged sexual misconduct and sexual assault involving a number of women in detailed articles in October.
Knightley, who worked with Weinstein on Begin Again and The Imitation Game, said she was not aware of his history of sexual harassment.
“I wasn’t aware of any allegations or rape or sexual assault against him,” she said. “For the first time, people are sharing their stories. People have been absolutely terrified to talk about it and were scared of retribution, so I don’t think everybody knew the extent of what was going on.”
A spokesperson for Weinstein previously told PEOPLE in a statement that “any allegations of non-consensual sex are unequivocally denied by Mr. Weinstein. Mr. Weinstein has further confirmed that there were never any acts of retaliation against any women for refusing his advances.”