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Yet the 26-year-old actress balked at what director David Cronenberg wanted her to do for her latest film, A Dangerous Method, because she thought the scenes were too outrageously explicit.But then, she says, after talking at length with Cronenberg and her co-star Michael Fassbender, she changed her mind and went through with them, helped by inhibition-easing shots of vodka.“When I first read it I loved the script and really wanted to play the character, but I didn’t want to do those scenes, and I phoned David Cronenberg and said I was going to have to turn the role down,” she recalls.“He said he really wanted me to play the part so he would take the scenes out but I said, 'Whoa!

I knew vaguely that it was meant to be rooted in sexuality and that it had something to do with your parents, but, apart from that, I really didn’t know anything else, so it was fascinating looking into it.” She pauses and adds thoughtfully: “And very challenging.

In the fact-based film she portrays a hysterical, tic-ravaged mental patient with masochistic tendencies who becomes sexually involved with her psychoanalyst, Dr Carl Jung, played by Fassbender.

As well as some explicit sex scenes, the script also called for her to enjoy being tied to a bed and spanked with her breasts exposed.

“I said, 'Yeah, you’re right.’ He’s absolutely wonderful and we had a couple of shots of vodka before doing the scene and a couple of glasses of champagne afterwards.” Knightley’s portrayal of the Russian mental patient Sabina Spielrein, who recovered from her illness to become a leading therapist and intellectual colleague of Jung and Sigmund Freud (played by Viggo Mortensen), has won critical praise .

“I had no frame of reference for any of the things that she was going through so it was really sort of starting from scratch.

A second psychiatric report has been requested and it is not complete.'There is no indication from me as to what the sentence will be.

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