Acclaimed actress Jacqueline Bisset's new film The Sleepy Time Gal — debuting Friday on the Sundance Channel — took more than two years of on-and-off shooting to finish. Instead of being annoyed at the time consuming process, though, she feels it helped her get closer to her terminally-ill character.

"I was able to get perspective on different times of her life," the 57-year-old tells TV Guide Online. "I was able to work physically on myself to get some of my energy back for the 'well' parts — and then lose it for the 'tired' parts.

"What was great about it," Bisset adds, "was that each time we started to work, I felt really fresh, rather than get worn out on the shoot and [feel] harassed by the production to hurry up and shoot, shoot, shoot. Which so often happens. We had these intense little periods where we'd arrive and attack [a specific] section. I liked it."

What she is miffed about is losing a favorite Sleep scene to the cutting room floor, due to a technical problem. It featured her having an irate face off with a bus driver. "I was a bitch, basically," boasts Bisset, a frequent portrayer of Biblical heroines. "We weren't able to use the scene and I was really upset because I wanted to play a disagreeable person. It is so fun to be this nasty; I am never allowed to play [those parts]."