If the heartstring-tugging trailer for Me Before You made you reach for the tissues, you weren’t the only one.

In the film adaptation of Jojo Moyes’ beloved novel, Sam Claflin plays Will, a dour businessman paralyzed after an accident who falls for his cheery caretaker, Lou (Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke). Sitting down with EW to talk about Me Before You, Claflin revealed that tapping into his tear-jerking role took an emotional toll on him.

“I think playing Will was undoubtedly probably the most challenging thing I’ve ever done in my life,” he told EW. “I honestly was an emotional wreck pretty much the entirety of the film.”

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But that doesn’t mean there wasn’t any laughter on set. In fact, Claflin added, the person who made him crack up the most was his costar Clarke, whom he described as a “ball of energy.”

“One of the hardest and most challenging things about this job was actually keeping a straight face during the scenes in which our characters weren’t meant to like each other,” Claflin said. “I had a fake beard on, and all I remember is sort of trying to hold it down because every time I’d smile, it would pop off.”

Me Before You, which was directed by Thea Sharrock, hits theaters on June 3. Watch EW’s exclusive interview with Claflin above.

Me Before You
  • Movie
  • 111 minutes