Alicia Vikander has revealed playing Vera Brittain in Testament Of Youth was a "big challenge".
The Swedish actress stars in the big screen adaptation of the famous memoir of Baroness Shirley Williams' mother Vera Brittain, documenting her experiences of the First World War and the men in her life who she lost.
"It was definitely a big challenge," she admitted. "It started with me reading the book and then I got the chance to meet (director) James Kent and Rosie Alison, the producer.
" I had to work a lot on my accent. I did a lot of preparation work and I was able to not only read the books, but the letters between Vera and the boys. That was a treasure because they were a direct way for me to hear her own words from that time during the war."
Brittain was studying English Literature at Oxford university when the war broke out and she delayed her studies to work as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse.
Her fiance Roland Leighton, played by Game Of Thrones star Kit Harington, two other close friends Victor Richardson and Geoffrey Thurlow, and her brother Edward Brittain MC were all killed in battle and she went on to be a strident anti-war campaigner.
" I think we had a very strong connection immediately. I hadn't really read anything about the First World War from a woman's point of view," Alicia continued. "I was totally drawn to the fact I was so emotionally connected with this woman, who felt extremely strong and willing to fight for so much."
Alicia has five other films out this year, including Alex Garland's sci-fi thriller Ex Machina, Guy Ritchie's The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and the big-screen adaptation of Deborah Moggach's novel, Tulip Fever.
"I've had time off, two weeks over Christmas and New Year. That was well needed," she said. "It's been great - I've been in my own bubble and just do the work and not being out in the public eye at all. I'm excited for the films to get an audience."
:: Testament Of Youth opens in cinemas on January 16.