There are some gruesome experiences that Amy Adams’ reporter Camille Preaker has to walk through in HBO’s feature adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s Sharp Objects as she tries to cover the murder of an adolescent girl in her Missouri hometown.

In episode one, we see Adams’ Camille dreaming about a lost sister, and entering a shady shack in the woods with dried squirrel skins hanging and S&M photos on the wall. Yuck.

So how does Adams stay grounded? Essentially she aims to check out when she goes home, leaving her alter ego on set, a method actor’s technique that even Marlon Brando employed: He reportedly never took his characters home to his family.

“For me family is the most grounding thing and going home and seeing my daughter and husband, making dinner and doing something domesticated always helps to reground myself and get me back in my own reality,” says the five-time Oscar-nominated actress.

However, Adams did have insomnia during the shoot, “I’d wake up with anxiety and have to realize that I didn’t own it, but it belonged to Camille.”

Also, the camaraderie with her fellow actresses on set was a help.

“There was a closeness on set that existed or became during the shooting,” says Adams, “that helped us through the darkness of the subject matter.”

“That’s what saved us,” says Patricia Clarkson who plays the mother to Adams’ Camille, quipping, “We had these traumatic days and then we’d drink fake alcohol on the set then have real alcohol — that was at night.”