KEIRA KNIGHTLEY gave up on Pirates of the Caribbean because she had “hit a brick wall”.

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The Atonement actress was one of the stars of the first three instalments in the Pirates franchise, but ducked out of the latest – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides – and has been replaced by Penelope Cruz as female lead.

“I was 17 when I started and 22 by the time the last one came out,” said Knightley, now a cinema veteran aged 26.

“It was a considerable chunk of time. It was extraordinary but I think, what is that, five years of life?

“I very much felt like I’d hit a brick wall.”

Despite that painful-sounding experience, Knightley wishes the new film well.

“I can’t wait to see it,” she said.

“I’m sure it will be lovely.”

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opens in London on 18 May.