American actress SCARLETT JOHANSSON struggled to keep her sexual passion under control during the filming of Girl with a Pearl Earring.

The 19-year-old found playing romantically-repressed maid GRIET in the new period movie a challenge, because during filming she kept wanting to kiss COLIN FIRTH's Dutch painter VERMEER due to the tension between their characters.

She says, "There were so many times with Vermeer where I felt like my heart was leaping out of my tightly laced bodice.

"Especially in my ear-piercing scene, there was so much of an urge to just grab his face and lay a big one on him.

"It was painful to hold back. Really very painful deep in the recesses of my chest. I hope that frustration comes across."

29/01/2004 14:01