Joe Cole has revealed his training for the fight scenes in new film Offender was about getting the mind of a lean, mean fighting machine, not just the body.
The 23-year-old Skins star plays Tommy in the Brit flick, about a law abiding teenager who breaks the law to get into a young offenders' institution and avenge his girlfriend (played by Fresh Meat's Kimberley Nixon) by taking down the gang that attacked her.
Joe revealed: "I was in the gym trying to shed excess fat and become as lean as I could. I was doing a bit of boxing as well and trained in a street fighting martial art. As much as it was to get the physicality, it also informed my character and it made me feel like I could actualy take on some of these guys.
"Which is important, because if the audience watches it and doesn't feel like Tommy can come up against these guys and challenge them, then nobody's going to buy the premise of the film.
"So for me it was important to get into that physical place both visually and for my own mental preparation."
Set amid the backdrop of the London riots, the film sees Tommy go through a gruelling and bloody revenge attack as he does battle with each member of the gang on the inside. Joe admits it was draining to act so angry all the time.
He confessed; "I had to draw on some of my own experiences in terms of finding that emotion. I was thinking about times when I've been low and things haven't been working out for me and I tried to inject that into the character.
"But playing such an angry character was quite full on and it required a lot of focus. I wasn't cracking too many jokes on set. I had to keep a certain poker face throughout because it was so emotionally draining. I couldn't switch in and out of it."
:: Offender is released in cinemas on August 8, 2012.