Are we having deja vu? In Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, Paul Bettany plays a British Navy doctor who also serves as confidante to the ship's captain, Russell Crowe. Of course, he also played Crowe's imaginary best friend in A Beautiful Mind. How did he feel about acting opposite Crowe again?

"Working with somebody twice is either a nightmare or it is fantastic, depending if you get on with them or not," Bettany says. "Russell and I really get on with each other. And it is a joy, because you hit the ground running. You both trust each other, and you both understand that neither of you have got particularly fragile egos, and you can be frank with each other.

"Hopefully, you get somewhere interesting quicker," the 32-year-old Brit adds. "Instead of pussyfooting around, saying, 'I wonder if your character would do that?' [Crowe] can just say, 'You know Paul, I think that is s---.'"

Bettany also enjoys his continued acquaintance with another Beautiful Mind co-star: Oscar winner Jennifer Connelly. She's now Bettany's wife and the mother of his baby boy. While aware he's a very lucky man, he admits to indulging in a bit of professional jealousy.

"I had a chance to see a rough cut [of her new film The House of Sand and Fog] and she is extraordinary in it," he grouses. "She always is. It is annoying. She never puts a foot wrong. I did three years of training at drama school, and she just goes and does it. It is, frankly, really frustrating.

"I'd be really furious, but she's so plain-looking, it kind of softens the blow," he winks. "I feel deep going out with Jennifer Connelly, because people think, 'How did she get him?' I know that's on everybody's mind all of the time."