The film follows Knightley's character Penny and her newly single neighbor Dodge, played by Steve Carell, as they hop in the car and set out to resolve personal relationships a few weeks before an asteroid is to collide with Earth. Written and directed by first-time director Lorene Scafaria, the movie co-stars William Petersen, Melanie Lynskey, Adam Brody, Derek Luke, Connie Britton and Patton Oswalt.
"I'd been doing a lot of very dramatic, tragic kinds of things. And I really fancied doing something that was positive," Knightley told reporters in New York recently about what drew her to the film.
"I did sort of say to my friend, 'I'm doing something positive.' 'Well, what's it about?' 'The end of the world.' 'That's not really very positive, is it?' But I thought the character Penny is very positive. And she's sort of one of those people who is totally able to go, 'This moment is fabulous.' And I love that about her. And the whole film, actually. That it is about something horrendous, definitely. Death and destruction. But the fact is that I found the script incredibly uplifting. And incredibly positive.
"And what it really says is what becomes important. And what becomes important is love and friendship and companionship. And the wonderful moments in life. And not the other moments. And I sort of loved that about the whole piece. And loved that about the character," said the 27-year-old actress, who is best known for her work in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" blockbusters, as well as the films "Pride & Prejudice," "Atonement," "A Dangerous Method" and "Never Let Me Go."
So what would Knightley do if she learned life as she knew it was going to end in the very near future?
"I'd hide in a corner and cry, I think! You know, we sort of went through all those kind of 'What's on your bucket list? [questions,]" said the actress.
"Like: 'Would you jump out of a plane? Would you go to an orgy? Would you take lots of drugs?' Honestly, if someone said a meteor is going to destroy the earth in 20 days, I think I'd be so preoccupied with whether it was going to hurt or not, that I'd just be terrified! And in a corner. Yeah."
"Seeking a Friend for the End of the World" is in theaters now. Knightley will also soon be seen on the big-screen in "Anna Karenina."