Ryan Phillippe felt a special bond with his Way of the Gun co-star Juliette Lewis, who plays an expectant mother kidnapped by cold-blooded killers Phillippe and Benicio Del Toro in the just-released film. During the shoot, Phillippe was anticipating the birth of his own baby daughter with actress/wife Reese Witherspoon.

"It made sense for me to strike an emotional bond with this character who has a life inside her, since that's where my thoughts were when I wasn't working," says the Cruel Intentions actor, who welcomed Ava Elizabeth into the world nearly one year ago.

On the flip side, Phillippe admits it was difficult working while Witherspoon's due date loomed. "I felt like I was being pulled in many different directions," he explains. "But at the same time Reese had people with her, so I knew she wasn't alone."

Besides, the couple had a contingency plan in the event the big moment arrived while Dad was busy on the set. "The deal was that if my wife went into labor, I was going to take off," Phillippe says. "But it worked out perfectly since the baby was born the day after we finished shooting."

So how is the 26-year-old heartthrob adjusting to his new role as father? "It's just amazing being a dad," he marvels. "[It's] a lot of work, and very little sleep, but really amazing.

"Being a father has definitely given me a better understanding of people," he adds. "Overall it's been positive. And up to this point, it hasn't affected me work-wise other than my wife and I try not to work at the same time."