Carey and Keira launch London Film Festival

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British actresses Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan have helped launch this year's London Film Festival with the European premiere of their latest film.

The pair joined co-star Andrew Garfield on the red carpet at a gala screening of dystopian drama Never Let Me Go.

"It means a huge amount to all of us that we are opening the festival," said Knightley, who previously worked with Mulligan on 2005's Pride and Prejudice.

The 54th BFI London Film Festival runs until 28 October.

Based on Kazuo Ishiguro's novel, Never Let Me Go tells of friends who grow up at boarding school, unaware of a dark secret that looms over their future.

Directed by US film-maker Mark Romanek, it will be released in the UK in January.

Image caption,
X-Files star Anderson was among the other guests at the premiere

Knightley, 25, described the chance to work with "close mate" Mulligan, also 25, as "a wonderful opportunity".

The Pirates of the Caribbean star said she was "excited" to be launching the festival, despite it being "freezing" in London's Leicester Square.

"Keira and I have been friends for a long time," said Mulligan, Oscar-nominated earlier this year for her role in An Education.

"It's always nice to do a film where you've got a young cast."

"It's very rare that you find a script that is so full of what it is to be alive - to be human and the struggles that we collectively go through," said Garfield.

"There are terrible scripts, there are good scripts, and then there are scripts and stories like this one."

Recently cast as the new Spider-Man, the 27-year-old can be seen in cinemas this week in The Social Network, a film about the creation of Facebook.

X-Files star Gillian Anderson, actor Sir Ben Kingsley and novelist Salman Rushdie were among the other guests at Wednesday's launch.

The London Film Festival continues on Thursday with screenings of Let Me In, a US remake of Swedish vampire thriller Let the Right One In.

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