Swedish model-actress Izabella Scorupco joined a testosterone-pumped production when she was cast in the dragonslayer flick Reign of Fire. She clearly wasn't prepared for the 24/7 toughness of her Method-acting co-stars, Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. They treated this lady — who plays a daring helicopter pilot — just like one of the guys, but the former Bond girl longed to try a little tenderness between takes.

"There was never chit chat or joking between scenes," says Scorupco, best known as the stunning medic in Vertical Limit. "They are both very demanding actors. They never asked, 'Are you okay? Are you keeping up?' It was, 'This is what we're doing for five months and we don't care if you're a woman or not.'"

Apparently, Scorupco's previous big-screen adventures — she's raced with 007 and climbed the Himalayas, looking cute all the while — weren't as rough as getting chased by computer-generated dragons. "We had the heaviest shoes you can ever imagine," she complains, "and we had to run for our lives [in them]. I was prepared for what I know is physically demanding, but running after Christian is not very funny."

Worse yet, McConaughey was already "bald with tattoos" and fully in ferocious character as Van Zan — a U.S. marine turned renegade dragonslayer — when she first met him. And he never came out of that mode until the day they parted ways.

"I was pretty scared [of Matthew] sometimes," she laughs. "He looked quite disgusting as this sweaty guy, and he lived his part. When you met him privately before shooting, he was still Van Zan. Not only was he dirty and scary, but he had all that blood on his face. My [five-year-old] daughter Julia started to cry every time she saw him!"