Keira Knightley nervous about returning to work for first time since pandemic began

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Keira Knightley is both excited and terrified about returning to work after being "a full-time mum" since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

The Pirates of the Caribbean star wrapped filming her new black comedy Silent Night two days before the first British lockdown in March last year and is set to return to work to play reporter Loretta McLaughlin in a movie about the Boston Strangler.

The production requires Knightley, her husband James Righton and their two daughters - Edie, six, and Delilah, two - to relocate to Boston for three months, and while the British actress is thrilled to be acting once again, she is nervous about being separated from her youngest child after such a prolonged period of time together.

"The prospect feels impossible right now," she told The Telegraph's Stella magazine. "I want to do it, but I've been a full-time mum for the last 19 months. I haven't left the little one. She doesn't know life without me putting her down for a nap. Already I'm going, 'Oh my God, how are they going to cope?' Now, obviously, they are going to cope fine, it's me that's going to be in pieces."

The 36-year-old had originally agreed to star in The Essex Serpent TV series last year but she dropped out due to travel fears and was subsequently replaced by Claire Danes.

"It was filming at that point when you couldn't travel between different parts of the U.K. My youngest was one, and suddenly I might be stuck on the other side of the country and I wouldn't be able to get to her. I couldn't do that," she explained.

After dropping out of the show, Knightley stopped working and focused on her family, and she had conflicted feelings about the downtime.

"There's a part of me that went, this is great, maybe I should never work again," she joked. "And another part of me that was like, 'Whoa, I need to get back to work very quickly.' But it felt lovely, because we're a family that had, up until then, moved around the whole time."