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It's no more Mr nice Guy

During Guy Pearce's acceptance speech for an Emmy for his part in Todd Hayne's adaptation of Mildred Pierce, the wry Aussie deadpanned that he had no idea that having "sex with Kate Winslet many, many times" would result in a statuette.

It was the sort of speech that cruised just on the right side of naughty, tempered by Pearce's clear affection and admiration for, not only his leading lady, but also director Haynes and the rest of the cast and crew. Naturally, Pearce also thanked HBO, who backed the mini-series adaptation of James M Cain's hardboiled 1941 novel.

"I'm a very lucky man to be in such company," smiles the 44-year-old actor, "and lucky that all of us were working under the umbrella of such a company. Hopefully, [the Emmy] means more people will take a shot on Mildred Pierce when it comes out on DVD." Nice plug.

Pearce lets out a laugh. "It's where I see most of these great TV series that everyone raves about -- on DVD. It's that special treat of allowing yourself just one more episode before bedtime. And then, hey, maybe just one more. I think watching Mildred Pierce all the way through in one sitting would be a special experience."

Having worked in series back in his early days in Australia, Pearce is quick to point out that Mildred Pierce was a somewhat different experience.

"Back in Australia, we never had the budget, or the attention to detail, that has gone into this production," he says. "With a mini series, as opposed to a movie, having five or six hours to tell a story that might normally be told in two is pretty liberating for an actor, because you can let each scene breathe."

And let's not forget about all the top-of-the-range bonking that such a luxurious and leisurely production allows.

"Oh, man, if this had been a movie, I would have only gotten the chance to get it on with Kate once or twice," laughs Pearce. "But, thanks to HBO giving us all this time, it was much, much more than a one-night stand."


Hitting cinemas today, Pearce stars in Guillermo del Toro-produced haunted-house offering Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark, which looks set to do some tidy business, and his next ventures also look intriguing -- four films in the pipeline with stars as interesting and diverse as January Jones and Nicolas Cage (Seeking Justice); Gary Oldman and Tom Hardy (The Wettest County In The World); a movie by Luc Besson (Lockout); and Prometheus, Ridley Scott's return to Alien territory.

Someone's been trying to avoid their chores.

"That's exactly it," nods Pearce. "The more movies I make, the less washing-up I have to do. I generally don't say yes to anything that I don't think I can do much with. That has meant turning down some lucrative work, but if you're in this game for the long haul you have to be careful about what you put your name to."

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark is in cinemas. Mildred Pierce is out on DVD on November 28