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Annette Bening thrilled to smoke cigarettes again in 20th Century Women

The actress has fond memories of smoking.

Annette Bening couldn't wait to pick up her former bad habit and light a cigarette on the set of new movie 20th Century Women.

The 58-year-old actress overcame her smoking addiction several years ago, but she was happy to pick it up again while depicting her nicotine-loving character Dorothea in director Mike Mills' 1970s period drama.

"For a while (in the past), I was smoking real cigarettes and loving it," she tells Vulture. "(I was like), 'Oh my God, I have to smoke in this movie', but secretly (was) really wanting to."

However, Bening did not smoke tobacco while filming 20th Century Women - she chose to smoke a herbal substitute instead.

"It doesn’t taste great," she notes of the roll-ups. "It’s like sitting in front of a fireplace. But it works and it looks right for the movie, and that’s what’s important."

Annette admits becoming a mum to her four kids, aged 24 and under, gave her the kick she needed to drop cigarettes for good and find healthier ways of coping with stress, such as regular exercise.

"I do yoga, but I also do aerobic stuff - stuff that gets my heart rate up," she told SFGate while discussing how she has managed to stay in such great shape over the years.

Bening also revealed her desire to drop pregnancy weight motivated her to get in the gym: "If you want to lose weight after you have a baby you have to get your heart rate up."

"(I exercise) as much for my mental health as for my physical health," she added. "You have to exercise often. I don't exercise for long periods of time, but I try to be consistent about it because it gives me energy and makes me feel better."

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