Michael Fassbender is the consummate professional.
So it's no surprise that when it came time to film his sex scenes with Penélope Cruz in Ridley Scotts new thriller, The Counselor, the acclaimed German-Irish actor was all about staying true to their characters.
Though he was quick to admit the shoot wasn't easy given that Cruz's hubby, Javier Bardem, who also appears in the movie, was right there with them.
"It's always a bit awkward, really. Doing scenes like that, especially cause Javier was sitting at the end of the bed. That was really weird," he told E! News with a laugh. "You just wanna make sure that the other person is comfortable and that the other person doesn't feel like you're taking advantage of any situation. And then to just try and feel safe with one another really and then you can really hopefully sell what needs to be sold."
The film, written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Cormac McCarthy, follows a greedy lawyer (Fassbender) who gets in way over his head after he delves into the dark world of drug running. Cruz plays his naïve girlfriend, Laura, while Bardem plays the male half of a mysterious and dangerous couple opposite Cameron Diaz.
For Fassbender, who's no stranger to explicit big-screen romps having won praise for his performance in Steve McQueen's sex addiction drama Shame, getting intimate on camera with Cruz was just part of the job of being a storyteller.
"I think it was very important for me that these two characters really appear to be in love, 'cause they are. I think the counselor is very much in love with Laura and she is like such a good part of his life, and I wanted that to really sort of hit home," he said. "So there was that element of his life, which was an island in his life that was pure and beautiful. And so the dialogue that they have, I never found it vulgar and never really jarring. I just thought it's beautiful because it's two people in love."
Kerry Brown/20th Century Fox
The 36-year-old thesp, who is already generating Oscar buzz for his turn as a tyrannical slave owner in McQueen's 12 Years a Slave, had nothing but praise for his Spanish costars, calling it a "real treat" to work with them.
"Both her and Javier, I've been massive fans of them for so many years now…They're excellent actors," noted Fassbender.
"That sort of information, there's nothing I can really do with it, you know what I mean. I just sort of think about what I'm workin' on next, preparing that, and when I have down time spending it with people, my friends, family and loved ones," said Fassbender. "I keep it that simple really."