SIDEWAYS star Paul Giamatti is pleased people mistake his onscreen persona for his real personality, because it allows him to keep a low profile.

The 38-year-old actor, who stars alongside Russell Crowe in Cinderella Man, used to hate fans assuming he was akin to the neurotic, depressed characters he often portrays - but is now thankful for the privacy it creates.

He says, "It can be annoying that who you play gets ascribed to who you are. I don't think I ever consciously feel like any of these people I play."

However, Giamatti admits that he likes to keep his private life private: "I don't mind that people get things wrong about me. I have a probably really strange notion that I don't want people to know much about me."