Actress Sarah Paulson guzzled tequila to calm her nerves before she had to film a scene with a snake for American Horror Story: Coven.

The 12 Years a Slave star had to shoot a racy sex scene surrounded by snakes and fire and she was so worried she'd lose her nerve as the cameras were rolling she knocked back tequila to give herself the strength to get through it.

She says, "I was very nervous about it at first and the director came up to me and said, 'We want to do this full out, it's American Horror Story, we're gonna go for it. How do you feel about having a snake on your body?' I was like..., 'I don't feel good about it...'"

The tequila clearly worked because when her snake co-star attempted to escape, Paulson tackled her fear of the reptiles, wrangled it and wrapped it around her body.

She recalls, "There was this albino snake named Butter that I got very close to... We were also in a ring of fire, (which the snakes) don't like (and) they were trying escape.

"The camera operator was like, 'We're losing the snake, we can't see the snake', and I was like, 'What do you need?' I turned into, like, a crazy drill sergeant... and I pulled the snake and put it around (me). I turned into, like, a crazy snake person."