Paula Patton spent most of her time on 'Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol' with her "feet in the mud".

The 36-year-old actress - who portrays IMF agent Jane Carter in the movie, in which she stars opposite Tom Cruise - was constantly taking part in dirty and gruelling "physical stunts" in the action movie.

She told America's GQ magazine: "I was doing physical stunts, feet in the mud, fingernails full of dirt, shooting and fighting for my life."

Paula has previously admitted the timing of the shoot was perfect because it came five months after she gave birth to her son Julian Fuego - her child with her husband, singer/songwriter Robin Thicke - in April 2010 and whipped her into shape.

She told BANG Showbiz: "In the wish to do all my own stunts it was quite a bit of training, especially because I'd just had my son five months prior so as you can imagine, I wasn't in tip-top shape.

"It wasn't just about the outward appearance, which of course got affected, but it was about being able to do these stunts."

The star also admitted working alongside Tom was something she had always dreamed of as an actress.

Paula added: "It was an amazing experience. Those are the moments you dream of as an actress. He is very generous in that he wants to share the spotlight with everyone and make everyone shine."