26/07/2012 04:23 BST | Updated 26/07/2012 04:50 BST

Keira Knightley Tells Empire: 'What Kind Of Film Can I Make To Allow Me A Proper Life?'

Keira Knightley tells this month's Empire magazine she made a conscious decision not take high profile blockbuster movie roles as she couldn’t cope with the attention they bring.

keira knightley

Keira Knightley currently co-stars with Steve Carell in Seeking A Friend For The End of the World

She revealed: "It comes to a point where you think, “What kind of film can I make that will allow me to live a proper life?” And those tentpole movies make it difficult."

She added: "I became aware of how much I was complaining about it and you can’t complain about the attention you’re getting while still doing the films that invite the most attention. I do actually love blockbusters but that decision has a lot that comes with it that I’m not prepared to go with."

"Paparazzi started getting very verbally abusive, towards any guy I was with, to try to get a reaction. The money for those pictures went so crazy that it became dangerous, being followed down the street or in a car, and not being able to go anywhere without my dad, brother or boyfriend. I thought, 'I’m a grown woman and I can’t go out alone.'

"It felt ridiculous. So I was out."

keira knightley

Keira Knightley has given up blockbuster films like her starring role in Pirates of the Caribbean

"I honestly don’t think that if a model is in an advertising campaign then she shouldn’t be allowed to walk down the street feeling safe and that if an actress’s picture is on a billboard that she shouldn’t be able to go and buy tampons without being followed. I don’t think that makes sense. Public events are public events, but I think people are allowed lives and it doesn’t matter if they’ve been part of a modelling campaign or not."

Speaking to this month's Empire magazine about her forthcoming role playing Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, Keira says: “This is definitely the hardest part I’ve had."

The 27 year old actress described the role as 'womanly' and said: "It felt a bit like Tolstoy hates her, that he’s condemning her. It’s interesting playing that balance in the character. You don’t want her to be this victimised girl. You want to play someone with all the facets he put in her. It’s interesting to wrestle with whether she’s a heroine or anti-heroine."

Keira doesn't read her own reviews, but tells Empire that doesn’t stop people trying to show her what's been written. She laughed: "One Pirates and a King Arthur in, you realise the extent of what’s being written. I do see stuff. It’s amazing how many times you can go to a hairdresser and someone will show you an article saying you’re an ugly, anorexic, talentless bitch and say, 'Isn’t this amazing?' So you do become aware of things, but I stopped looking at about 19 or 20."

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Keira Knightley received criticism for her perceived blandness early in her career - seen here in Love Actually

"When you take a massive slamming early on I don’t think you ever really get over it. I look at some actors of my age who didn’t go through a slamming and I cannot understand the confidence. It’s like a different species. I think that’s ingrained in me now, that feeling of needing to convince myself I’m not s**t. Also, I knew I was learning and doing it very publicly… Anna Karenina was definitely one where on paper it should have been easier, because I knew Joe (Wright) so well, but it was still really difficult. I don’t think the learning ever stops, but the early years were about proving I wasn’t just a skinny body and a pretty face."

"I think the thing about the film industry is it’s entirely subjective. We’re always looking for that A-star grade but you’re never going to get it because there’ll always be someone who thinks you were crap. That’s just the way it goes. I certainly had my fair share of that."

The full interview appears in this month's issue of Empire Magazine, on sale now (Tuesday). Keira Knightley currently appears with Steve Carell in Seeking a Friend for the End of the World. Watch the trailer below...