James D'Arcy has confessed he unwound from the stress of playing a prison officer in gritty new thriller Screwed by flirting with the female crew.
The 35-year-old actor stars as Sam, a former soldier who becomes a prison officer after a traumatic tour of duty in Iraq in the film, which was written and produced by former prison officer Ronnie Thompson, and based loosely on his experiences.
James - who will play Edward VIII in Madonna's directorial debut W.E. - revealed: "It was a very male-heavy cast and there were a lot of very lovely girls on the shoot in the crew which just helped, because you'd finish filming and then you'd have a bit of a flirt. Everyone did and then you just felt better about life all round," he says.
"The only release is to laugh afterwards. It's not like you don't take the work seriously, but there is a kind of gallows humour that comes about and takes the edge off it.
"Oddly, it's when you make comedies that everyone is going insane after the day's shoot because it's so hard. Comedy is one of those things that wakes me up at 3am going, 'Oh God, why didn't I just do that?' That seems to haunt me more than shooting very intense dramas."
Bafta-winning director and actor Noel Clarke co-stars as prisoner kingpin Truman, who tries to draw Sam into his drug-dealing ring.
James revealed: "I don't know if he'll thank me for saying this but, although he plays aggressively unpleasant characters, in real life he's a rather sweet and quiet man."
:: Screwed is released in cinemas on Friday, June 3