Hugh Grant said it was fun to bring out a meaner side in his on-screen persona while playing villains in the film adaptation of Cloud Atlas.
The Four Weddings And A Funeral star plays six roles in the cinema version of the critical and commercial hit novel and said playing killers and rapists was something he felt he had to do.
Speaking on the red carpet at a gala screening in central London, he said: "It was fun. In the first early days of my career before Four Weddings (And A Funeral) I did play quite a lot of villains and I haven't done them for a long time, I got stuck in a rut of playing relatively nice guys.
"I suppose there were a few, like Daniel Cleaver in Bridget Jones, but nothing like this, these are killers and rapists and I felt I had to do it."
The film, directed by Lana Wachowski, Tom Tykwer and Andy Wachowski, sees big name actors such as Tom Hanks and Halle Berry playing multiple roles across a huge period of time in an ambitious intertwining tale.
The author of the award-winning 2004 novel, David Mitchell, described seeing his characters and story on screen as "overwhelming".
"Quite simply it's glorious. I never thought it would happen and it has," he said.
"There's some great actors, people I've known all my life really. They are playing characters that just began as connections in my brain, just thoughts and now here they are.
"It is quite overwhelming when I think about it, so on the whole I don't think about it.
"But it's been great."