Naomi Watts has opened up about the years of rejection she faced before achieving success in Hollywood.

Before her breakthrough role in 2001's Mulholland Drive, Watts toiled for a decade as a barely employed actress.

The English-born, Australian-raised actress recognises that the critically acclaimed movie directed by David Lynch was the turning point of her career even though she had been going "at it" for 10 years.

She says after making the decision to pack up her life in Australia to pursue her acting career in the US, Watts was faced with the reality that success in Hollywood wouldn't come easy.


"As all Australians do, when you get enough money in the bank, you go on the road and America was the first stop and I had some contacts and I called and met up with those people and they were all overwhelmingly positive, little did I know it was smoke and mirrors," Watts told The Hollywood Reporter.

Watts was one of seven thespians who were part of The Hollywood Reporter's Actress Roundtable.

Others taking part in the discussion - which touched on subjects such as their biggest fears and their worst auditions - were Helen Hunt, Anne Hathaway, Amy Adams, Rachel Weisz, Marion Cotillard and Sally Field.

"I had little things along the way that kind of kept hooking me in, each time that I thought this is too much, I can't take it, I'm going to quit, I would get some opportunity and you know it seemed like it came with promise but didn't work out," Watts said.

For Watts the experience shattered her childhood dreams of life as an actress.

"I didn't know that acting was a job or anything I just knew (as a child) that is was fun to play pretend. I remember being in school plays and feeling that but it took me a while to figure out it was a paying job."

The 44-year-old is being tipped as a possible awards contender for her role in The Impossible.

The harrowing film is based on the true story of one British family's trip to a beach resort in Thailand, where they were torn apart when a massive tsunami engulfed the nation's coastline in 2004.


Watts plays mother Maria Belon and has confessed making the film was "one of the most physically demanding things" she's ever done as much of film takes place in water.

The Impossible premiered in London on Monday. It is scheduled for release in Australia on January 24.