Kristin Scott Thomas has joked that Ralph Fiennes was a "terrible bully" on the set of The Invisible Woman.

The Oscar-nominated actress has reunited with the filmmaker in the period drama, in which she plays Catherine Ternan opposite his portrayal of author Charles Dickens. Ralph also directed the film.

"It was wonderful working with Ralph again even though he was a terrible bully and he used to tell me to stop acting all the time," she quipped.

Asked if he wanted her to be more natural, she said: " I don't know what he wanted! And one day, when I did stop acting, he said, 'You look as if you want to go home'. And I said, 'Yes, well you told me to stop acting!'"

The Invisible Woman, which tells the story of Dickens' affair with mistress Nelly Ternan (played by Felicity Jones), marks the third collaboration between Kristin and Ralph, following their partnership on The English Patient and Chromophobia.

"I think Ralph and I had wanted to work together for a long time. We like working together and we've done a few films now," she said.

"I think he's a wonderful director, having watched Coriolanus. I thought he was brilliant and I said, 'If ever you need me, I'll be there'. So he gave me that part."

Ralph said he always had the 53-year-old in mind for the role of Mrs Ternan.

"I didn't know that, that's a bit upsetting!" she said. "Maybe because she's a sort of ageing actress on the way out, I don't know. I suppose being an actress and being a mother as well, I know what it feels like."

:: The Invisible Woman is in selected cinemas now and will be released nationwide on February 21.