Jake Gyllenhaal's role in new movie Demolition was the most "intimidating" and "uncomfortable" he has ever felt onscreen.
The Brokeback Mountain star plays an investment banker who struggles to rebuild his life after losing his wife in a car crash, and while Jake had no problem with the character itself, he admits he was initially a little thrown off by Dallas Buyers Club director Jean-Marc Vallee's style of filmmaking.
"I think when you play a character and it feels far away from you and you spend a lot of time in preparation and researching, I think that separates you from the person you're playing," Jake told breakfast show Today.
"Jean-Marc has a whole different way of looking at things. He wouldn't allow me to prepare; he basically told me to show up on set. There is no make-up or lighting on his movies; you just show up and start working."
The stripped-back process left Jake feeling a little out of his element at first, but he soon embraced the freeform style and ended up enjoying letting go of his vanity.
"I think being present and trying to be true to yourself in moments and just show all the embarrassing stuff, and also the things you sometimes hide from in performances, is intimidating and uncomfortable," the actor confessed, "(but) ultimately though, really wonderful."
One of the scenes involves Jake suddenly breaking out into an uninhibited dance on the streets of New York, and the 35-year-old revealed it was "a little nauseating" because he had no idea he would be showing off his moves for the film.
He recalled, "Jean-Marc Vallee... he's very, sort of, fly by the seat of his pants, so he just called me up and was like, 'I have this idea about a dance sequence. I think when your character starts to realize that there is joy in life and stuff he's gonna just dance, and I'm not gonna tell you what songs they are, I'm just gonna give you an iPod with earphones and wherever we are, wherever we're shooting, you're just gonna do it.'
"So we were on the streets of New York and he just said, 'It's time to dance!'"
Jake claims many of the reactions of passers by caught on camera were for real as they filmed the sequence, because the director didn't close down the street or make it obvious they were shooting a movie.
"He (Jean-Marc) just shoots without a huge crew and not a lot of people watching and you get to be who you really are, so in that way I guess I really am just a fantastic dancer!" Jake laughed.
The actor also enjoyed letting loose at the mandatory parties Jean-Marc insisted on to help everyone relax at the end of each week.
"The acting department threw a party," Jake smiled. "Chris Cooper, Naomi Watts and I threw a party and it was, in my opinion, the best party of any department, but everybody voted in the end and I think the art department won. They just know how to party!"