LOS ANGELES-Amy Adams gives all her characters a back story from the age of three.

The 43-year-old actress - who has seven-year-old daughter Aviana with husband Darren Le Gallo - likes to immerse herself completely in her roles and finds it helpful for her performance to come up with an entire life for her alter egos before they reached the age she plays them.

She said: ''For each character, I build a psychological back story from the age of around three - I'll imagine their whole life leading up to the present day.''

Amy has moved from movies to the small screen with new eight-part drama series 'Sharp Objects' and part of playing the role of investigative reporter Camille Preaker, who has recently been discharged from a psychiatric hospital, made her ''uncomfortable'', so she was thankful for the support of her family and friends in helping to put the role behind her at the end of a day's filming.

She said: ''You have to go and live in a place that's rather uncomfortable, but I am lucky that I have great friends and family and they pull you right out at the end of the day.

''It was darker and deeper than I first thought though.''

But the 'American Hustle' star won't take on a project if she can't find some way of relating to the character.

She told Psychologies magazine: ''I don't think I could really play a character who I found it impossible to relate to, because in every role there is a piece of the actor, and there has to be.

''In this case, it's about exploring pain and trying to let go of that pain - and that's very difficult.

''Too many times, we internalise our pain and that's when people end up becoming a big, knotted mass of regret and emotion.''