Who's the New Queen of Action?
Keira Knightley vs. Jennifer Garner
by Steve Ryfle
Move over, Uma. Your samurai sword is just a Popsicle stick compared to Guinevere's flaming arrows. And as for you, Angelina, your female Indiana Jones gag can't hold a comic-book candle to Elektra's super-powers. Yes, a new breed of female action star has arrived, and Keira Knightley and Jennifer Garner are the cream of the crop. Keira's got beauty, brains, brawn and youth in her arsenal, and Jennifer's got beauty, brains, brawn and the experience to back it up. Which of these fearless femmes would be the last woman standing if they went head-to-head in the ultimate catfight? Hopefully we'll never really find out, but just for fun, here's how they measure up.
Pix of Keira Knightley
Pix of Jennifer Garner
Real Name: Kiera Knightley (with the
"e" and "i" transposed)
Birthplace: Middlesex, England
Birth date: March 26, 1985
| ||Jennifer Garner|
Real Name: Jennifer Anne Garner
Birth date: April 17, 1972
|Young and Restless: Wanted to be an actress since age 3, when she asked her parents if she could get an agent.|| ||Young and Restless: Spent her childhood and teen years studying dance, and performed in community-theater musicals in Charleston, West Virginia, where she was raised.|
| Family: Dad is actor Will Knightley, mom is actress-turned-author Sharman Macdonald. She has a brother, Caleb, born in 1979.|| ||Family: Her mother Pat is a retired English teacher, father Bill is a former chemical engineer. Jennifer had the dreaded role of "middle child" of three daughters.|
|Edu: Her folks want her to go to college and "become a doctor or something," but Keira plans to keep working for now.|| ||Edu: Originally studied chemistry at Denison University in Ohio, but soon changed her major to theater. After completing her degree she moved to New York, working as a hostess at tony Isabella's restaurant while honing her acting chops.|
|Paying Her Dues: She'd been working since she was a tyke, but her first high profile role was the decoy queen in "The Phantom Menace." And when she played the soccer-obsessed tomboy in "Bend it Like Beckham," people started taking notice.|| ||Paying Her Dues: Went to Los Angeles in the late 1990's and snagged numerous meaty roles, including heart-breaker Hannah on "Felicity," and parts in films like "Dude, Where's My Car?" and "Pearl Harbor."|
|Big Break: Already had a decent career going, but when Jerry Bruckheimer handpicked her for "Pirates of the Caribbean," her star value went through the roof. Thanks, Jer.|| ||Big Break: Her guest-spot on "Felicity" caught the eye of exec producer and TV impresario J.J. Abrams, who told her he had a new project that she might be ideal for. But she wasn't a slam-dunk for the role of Sydney Bristow on "Alias," she had to audition and sweat it out before landing the role.|| |
|Quotable: "When they offered me the role (in "King Arthur"), they said, 'Okay. We're going to need you to bulk up.' And I thought that was absolutely right because there was no way that someone of my size ... would be able to fight on equal standing with a man. So I did that. They got me a personal trainer and I did mostly weight lifting and boxing for about three hours a day."|| ||Quotable: "I see myself as a strong person, but I'm not tough in any way, shape or form and I am not violent. I can't even watch violence, though now I can watch a fight scene with a little bit more interest than I could before because I like to see if it was a good reaction, or a nice kick."|
|Super Powers: Don't mess with Guinevere. She's got bows and arrows, knives, swords and a mean temper. And in the upcoming "Domino" (due 2006), Keira plays a real-life bounty hunter with deadly fighting tactics and assorted hi-tech gizmos.|| ||Super Powers: Sydney's main weapons are her fists and feet, and Jennifer trained rigorously in Tae Kwon Do and kickboxing for "Alias." Elektra Natchios' ultimate weapon is the sais, that three-pronged, deadly looking Japanese sword. Hey, watch it with that thing!|
|Greatest Battle: As dainty Elizabeth in "Pirates of the Caribbean," Keira fights off the bad pirates with "candlesticks, poles, even a bedpan." She wanted a sword, but Jerry Bruckheimer wouldn't let her have one.|| ||Greatest Battle: The first clash between Jennifer and Ben Affleck in "Daredevil" is one of the classic mano-a-manos in comic-book movie history, even if neither is wearing their super-hero duds at the time. Story goes that Affleck had trouble getting into character 'cause he doesn't believe in hitting girls, but Jennifer was ready to rock.|
|Alter Egos: With her "Phantom Menace" make-up on, you couldn't tell her from Natalie Portman--which has led to people telling her she "looks like Natalie Portman." She doesn't mind, but she bristled when people called her "The New Hayley Mills" after "Bend it Like Beckham" came out.|| ||Alter Egos: Grad student by day, Sydney Bristow is one tough secret agent from a family of undercover operatives. Daughter of a shady billionaire by day, Elektra is a ninja-trained assassin by night.|
|Love Life: She hasn't been linked to anyone romantically yet, and laments that no one's tried to hit on her during movie shoots. Says she more than enjoyed her kissing scene with Orlando Bloom (what a surprise) in "Pirates."|| ||Love Life: She met ex-husband Scott Foley on the "Felicity" set, and they were TV's happy couple, until they got divorced earlier this year. No word yet if the split was due to Scott's feeling inadequate in Jennifer's tough-girl shadow.|
|Sitting Pretty: Ranked No. 1 in New Woman magazine's list of 50 Most Beautiful Celebrities. Named "most desirable single woman in Britain" by Tattler magazine, and "most glamorous film actress" by Glamour magazine.|| ||Sitting Pretty: People magazine named her one of its Breakthrough Stars of 2001, and one of its 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002. Maxim named her the No. 1 sexiest woman of 2001.|Syndicated Columnists
Marilyn Beck and Stacy Jenel Smith are featured in over 100 print publications and other media outlets with cutting edge celebrity news and insider scoop. Have a burning showbiz question?
Ask those in-the-know, Marilyn and Stacy, and get the real skinny daily in their "Ask BeckSmith
" column on CompuServe and Netscape.