Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey felt so comfortable playing a husband and wife in new movie The Butler that they continued their affectionate behaviour once the cameras stopped rolling.

The pair portrays Cecil and Gloria Gaines in the historical drama, which focuses on Whitaker's butler character who worked at the White House under eight consecutive presidents.

Winfrey was so committed to perfecting their on-screen chemistry that she would hold hands with her co-star to keep their relationship alive off set.

Speaking to journalists while promoting the movie in New York, Whitaker said, "It was an amazing experience for me. (Winfrey) was so committed to our relationship. In between the scenes, when we're trying to develop our rapport and continue to build our connection, she would be so generous, she would rub my back, or, you know, we'd walk hand in hand to the set and talk, and I think it led to the magic of us being able to really be connected in the film."