Alexander Skarsgard was taxed with playing the villainous Charlie in "Straw Dogs," but the Swedish "True Blood" actor said he tried not to make the character completely evil.
"It was important to make this guy three-dimensional and real. I don't know if 'likeable' is the right word but at least in the beginning of the movie, it was important that you understand him because that makes it real," Skarsgard told OnTheRedCarpet.com and other press outlets in a satellite interview.
"To play a character who's just evil ... I wanted the audience to be able to connect with the guy and understand him and I thought it would be more interesting for the audience if they were kind of on the fence at the beginning at least - 'Should Amy, his ex-girlfriend go back to him or should she stay with David, her new husband?' It made it more interesting than good guy, good girl, bad guy," Skarsgard continued. "Those movies don't really work for me and I think we all didn't want it to be one of those movies."
In the film, James Marsden stars a Los Angeles screenwriter David Summer, who relocates with his wife Amy (Bosworth) to her hometown in the deep South. As tensions grow in their marriage, the locals begin to pose a threat. Skarsgard plays Amy's high school boyfriend who hasn't moved on.
The film is based on Sam Peckinpah's 1971 film of the same name, which starred Dustin Hoffman and Susan George as David and Amy Summer. In Peckinpah's version, the couple retreats to the English countryside.
Though Skarsgard maintains a muscular psychic for his "True Blood" character, the actor said he tried to put on some weight for his new role.
"Vanity is always dangerous for an actor," Skarsgard said. "For Charlie, I wanted to gain weight because he's an old football player and I wanted to be bigger than I was at the time. The day you're motivated by, like, going to the gym because you're in a tank top, then you're in trouble as an actor, I think."
Skarsgard had the unpleasant duty of performing a rape scene with his now ex-girlfriend, Kate Bosworth. Though the two were not dating at the time, they acknowledge that it was an intense scene to film.
"I told Alex not to worry about me, to just go for it. I said, I need you to lose yourself in this moment," Bosworth told Black Book in a recent interview. "And it was actually violent," Bosworth continued. "He's a huge guy. When he was ripping off my clothes in front of a room filled with men, even though I knew it was make-believe, it was still incredibly violating and terrifying. The panic you see flooding me in that rape scene is real."
In spite of the experience, Bosworth had nothing but kind words for her co-star.
"Alex is so kind and so dedicated and so incredibly professional," the 28-year-old actress told the magazine. "He's got this rare, wonderful control and stillness that you notice in a lot of old movie stars. He looks you in the eye. I feel incredibly lucky to have had that type of man on this movie."
Skargard also had nothing but praise for his ex, saying in a recent interview, "Kate is such a great actress, and she's so much more than a good-looking Hollywood starlet." He added, "We were just really good friends at the time. But we shared a really special experience on that film."
The 35-year-old actor also had to beat up James Marsden's character in the film and was worried about hurting the actor.
"I love Jimmy. He's the greatest guy," Skarsgard said of his co-star. "It was tough shooting those scenes because they are very, very violent. I throw him downstairs. I beat him up pretty badly. Of course I didn't hit him in real life but it gets pretty rough because it has to look real. And I'm a little bit bigger than Jimmy so I also wanted to make sure that he was okay because I love him and I didn't want to hurt him."
It was announced in July that Bosworth and Skarsgard had broken up after two years of dating.
Skarsgard is best known for his role in the HBO series "True Blood." The actor also appeared in the film "Zoolander" and the HBO miniseries "Generation Kill."
Bosworth, 28, rose to fame after appearing in the 2002 movie "Blue Crush." She has since appeared in films like "Win a Date with Tad Hamilton," "21" and "Superman Returns"
Marsden, 37, is best known for his roles in the "X-Men" franchise and for appearing in films like "Disturbing Behavior," "Enchanted" and "27 Dresses."
"Straw Dogs" hits theaters on September 16, watch a trailer below.