Nicole Kidman says she found the spark in her bathroom mirror for her role as a small-town vamp drawn to a convicted murderer in The Paperboy.
Kidman dials down her natural glamour and turns up the sex appeal in the Lee Daniels' film as bleached-blonde Charlotte, an "oversexed Barbie doll" who carries on correspondence with dozens of prison inmates in the late 1960s.
"Lee said to me: `look we've got no money, you're going to have to do your own hair and make-up'," the Australian star told reporters on Thursday after a press screening of the film that is competing for the Cannes film festival top prize, the Palme d'Or.
"So I went into my bathroom, and I got out the fake tan and I put on lashes, and I got out a hairpiece thing - it was platinum.
"I put it all on and took a photo and texted it to Lee, in all kinds of different provocative positions. What he sent back, which I cannot say, but it was like thumbs-up!
"And that's how it started to percolate."
The film, one of 22 in the running for the Palme d'Or to be handed out on Sunday, divided the audience at the press screening, drawing an even mix of applause and boos.