Javier Bardem says playing an underworld figure in Biutiful was his toughest role yet.
The Oscar-winning actor has picked up countless plaudits for his portrayal of Uxbal, a petty criminal who seeks redemption on discovering he's terminally ill.
"This is the heaviest movie I've done in my life and one of the heaviest I will ever do," Javier revealed.
"It's not the kind of film where you deliver the lines and go back to your hotel to sleep. This is a personal journey. You give yourself up in the name of the role and pray to survive."
The No Country For Old Men star, who has been tipped for another Academy Award for Biutiful, said he knew the role would be all-encompassing as soon as he read the script.
He added: "When you have this kind of material, you know you're going to jump into an ocean of doubts and fears. You want to do it right, to do it justice. You want to give yourself completely over to it."
Playing such an intense role was part of the reason Javier jumped at the chance to do Eat Pray Love opposite Julia Roberts, which was released last year but shot after Biutiful.
He explained: "I needed to do Eat Pray Love. I was like, 'It's time to go to Bali, wear nylon shirts and play golf'."
:: Biutiful is released in UK cinemas on Friday January 28