Julianna Margulies has a newfound respect for Mel Gibson after sword-fighting Saxons in TNT's two-part miniseries, The Mists of Avalon (airing July 15 and 16, 8 pm/ET). The ER alumna tells TV Guide Online that she was in awe of Braveheart "after doing the little bit that I did. It's incredible, but it's hard, and [director Uli Edel] gave me the confidence in myself to know that I could do it."

Thanks to Edel (Last Exit to Brooklyn), the 35-year-old actress says that she discovered her inner warrior while playing a Pagan priestess in this feminist retelling of the King Arthur legend (based on Marion Zimmer Bradley's novel). "My first time into battle I understood why men fight, because there's a testosterone level you get that you don't find anywhere else.

"I never got it before," Margulies adds. "I'm like 'Eww... war.' But after my first fill of it, it was quite thrilling. I hate to say that; it's probably politically incorrect. But it was. It was a blast. Girls never get to do that."

Margulies isn't so brave when it comes to critiquing her own projects, however. "I saw [Mists] three nights ago in the privacy of my own home at two in the morning with no one around, because I can't watch my own work," she confesses. "So I can cringe and do all my own stuff." Despite her post-production angst, the Emmy-winner considers the project an "amazing" success. "On-set, off-set, it was just one of the most delicious experiences I've ever had."