The two decided to prepare for their roles in the upcoming The Sea of Trees by emailing each other in character.
While some reports suggested the messages were all "love letters," Watts insists they were more diverse than that.
"They weren't all love letters," the Oscar nominee told me at the Toronto International Film Festival, where she premiered two movies, Demolition and About Ray. "They were kind of stormy…negative argumentative letters at times. They seemed to help us create this backstory."
Watts added, "We didn't have any time to rehearse or connect with each other…We just thought, 'Let's just go like gangbusters,' and we created this vibe, this thing. It was a good device."
For Demolition, Watts had to use a Long Island accent. She plays a vending machine company employee who strikes up an unlikely friendship with a businessman (Jake Gyllenhaal) whose wife is killed in a car accident.
"It's hard," she admitted. "It's really hard, working with accents and I do a lot of it. It takes a lot of studying…It was difficult, but hopefully I got there."
As a Queens, New York native, I can tell you that Ms. Watts nailed it.
"It was fun. It's always fun," Watts said. "An accent, even though it's hard, it's fun to work with. It's like a crazy costume or a crazy hairstyle, it helps you get closer to the character."