Romantic love is a punishable crime in the film Equals, which takes place in a dystopian world devoid of emotion and stars Twilight's Kristen Stewart and Mad Max: Fury Road's Nicholas Hoult.
When Nia and Silas, played by Stewart and Hoult respectively, fall in love, they're torn between their feelings for each other and maintaining distance for their own safety.
"I thought these two characters were so courageous," Stewart told CBC. "I believed in them and I knew that it would be a painful experience and it would make me think on things I wouldn't normally reflect on."
To establish a sense of familiarity with each other, Stewart and Hoult went through a week of intense rehearsals with director Drake Doremus, who taught them exercises to get to know each other deeply in a short amount of time.
Watch Stewart explain the initially "awkward" process below, which she says began with a seemingly simple "hello."
Doremus, whose acclaimed romantic drama Like Crazy won the grand jury drama prize at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, is a rising star in the independent film world and is becoming known for his unconventional directing style.
"It's designed to break down those barriers," he said about the Meisner acting technique he employed with Stewart and Hoult, which encourages actors to get out of their own heads and focus on the other person. "We really dug deep and tried to strip away everything and create a back story and a history for these characters."