Kiwi actress Anna Hutchison has opened up on the most difficult role of her career - playing a rape victim in a hard-hitting new Nicolas Cage movie.

In Vengeance: A Love Story Hollywood superstar Cage is a detective who seeks vengeance on four men who brutally assaulted a single mother in front of her daughter Bethie.

Hutchison - who has appeared in horror flick The Cabin in the Woods and TV series Spartacus - plays Teena Maguire, the woman sexually abused by the men.

She told the Herald on Sunday she immersed herself in some harrowing research and had tips and support from her Kiwi acting coach Miranda Harcourt.

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"To prepare I worked very closely with Miranda," Hutchison said. "She is incredible. I am so grateful to have had her input in creating Teena and tracking her journey.

"I watched many documentaries about sexual assault victims, talk shows with sexual assault as the theme.

"I watched films that tackle sexual assault. Also I read several books in which females were raped. It was a very dark couple of months."

The movie is based on a novella by Joyce Carol Oates. The story centres on Teena's brutal attack on July 4, American Independence Day.

Detective John Dromoor, played by Cage, sees the justice system is failing Teena and takes the law into his own hands to help her transition from victim, to survivor.

What at first looks like an easy conviction goes sideways when the rapists hire a very slick lawyer, who smears Bethie as a drunken brat and her mother as a prostitute.

"It was the most exposed and raw I've ever been for an extended period of time," Hutchison said. "We shot about two days with Teena pre-attack so the rest of the shoot I was a wreck.

"We would shoot for 14 hours and I would go home and watch more documentaries or speak with survivors of assault victims.

"I was purposely keeping myself in a very untrusting state. Except for Talitha Bateman. It was very important to me to create an impenetrable bond with her as she plays my daughter, Bethie. There wasn't a moment we were apart."

Hutchison also stars alongside Miami Vice legend Don Johnson in the movie.

"Nicolas is incredible and so generous with his time, so honest," she added. "Don was very cheeky."

Hutchison has also just finished filming a role on American martial arts TV hit Kingdom and next heads to Scotland to film a comedy.