Filming in the freezing cold Atlantic Ocean left Jessica Brown Findlay fearing for her life.
Despite their being lifeguards on hand, the actress was left not knowing 'which way was up' while shooting her new BBC3 three-part drama, Jamaica Inn.
'Filming in the sea was ridiculous... exhilarating and special because you were able to get to a place so far beyond where it feels ‘pretend’. It was real and there was a certain level of fear', the 24-year-old told the Daily Mirror.
'You were in the sea, everyone disappeared and you may drown. The waves were so big - you’d go under and you couldn’t see which way was up', she said.
However if the former ballerina had been after sympathy on set she would have been out of luck, she commented, and told to stop being so dramatic.
The former Downton Abbey star, who went au naturel for the scenes to make it look authentic, also told the newspaper: 'We actually had mud added. I was grubby for seven weeks. I don’t know how many people would like that, but I did. I was very dirty for the whole shoot.'
The actress plays the headstrong Mary Yellan in the period piece that follows a group of murderous wreckers who take down ships and steal their loot in early 18th century Cornwall.
Jessica, who recently starred in A New York Winter’s Tale with Colin Farrell, says she was excited to step away from the ‘fluffy, girly, boring stuff’ of the period genre.
‘The thing that struck me immediately and was really refreshing is that it was a story where the lead was a heroine, a woman,’ Findlay Brown told the Telegraph.
‘But you could just as easily give her a male name and the story could stay the same. It’s not just fluffy, girly, boring stuff.’
As 23-year old Mary, she is taken in by her brutal uncle Joss and ghost-like Aunt Patience after her mother dies.
Jessica said it was fantastic to be in a production where the story was ‘written by an incredible woman, adapted by an incredible woman, and directed by an incredible woman’.
Philippa Lowthorpe, is in the director’s chair and has also worked on Call the Midwife.
‘I think all period dramas should just be dramas, and word period dropped. For me it’s real people, with real passion and real faults,’ she told the audience at a special preview of the show.
The series was produced by David Thompson, who is known for his work on Mandela: The Long Walk To Freedom and the BBC’s Death Comes To Pemberley.
‘It’s so hard to find a love story set in the contemporary setting because there’s so much less at stake,’ the Telegraph reports. ‘What you get in the period stories is you have a number of impediments, which is what you’ve got here.’
Jamaica Inn was filmed on location in Cornwall, as well as Yorkshire and Cumbria during the seven-week production.
Sean Harris, Shirley Henderson and Matthew McNulty also star.
The smugglers' retreat that inspired Daphne du Maurier's bestselling tale of murderous wreckers has sold for a staggering £2million.
The Jamaica Inn pub, situated on Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, was bought by businessman Allen Jackson for more than 40 times what the current owners paid for it four decades ago.
Jamaica Inn will be broadcast on the BBC during its Easter programming, over three consecutive nights yet to be announced.