Evangeline Lilly went under the radar after starring opposite Hugh Jackman in the 2011 robot flick Real Steel.
The Canadian actress had found fame through the television series Lost, where she played Kate Austen, one of the lead characters, for six seasons before the award-winning show ended its run in May 2010.
The 34-year-old returns to the big screen as Tauriel in The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug, an elf who did not exist in J.R.R. Tolkien's book but was created specially for the sequel.
The mother of a two-year-old boy talked about rediscovering her love for acting at The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug press conference in Los Angeles.
She said: "I started this film when my child was three months old. That made it more difficult, especially as Tauriel was a physically challenging role. I was still nursing, so I didn't do any training before going on set."
Lilly, who admitted to often being "riddled with anxiety attacks", recalled that when she was working on Lost, she spent many years dealing with "all kinds of health issues, such as insomnia, for constantly performing and constantly being scrutinised".
"So I just knew very quickly (on Lost) that it wasn't healthy. That's when I thought that's not for me. I want to do something that keeps me happy and healthy.
"No amount of fame or money is worth sacrificing your health and happiness."
But then The Hobbit and director Peter Jackson came along and "significantly shifted" her perspective on the business.
"I get to put on elf ears and a long wig!" she said.
"There's also nothing more exciting than being involved in the creative process with (screenwriters) Philippa Boyens and Fran Walsh in the development of Tauriel - it made the role so much more meaningful.
"And when I get home at the end of the day to a baby, this bubble of bliss and happiness... there's no time or emotional energy to be wasted on anxiety.
"I was so exhausted that I'd just fall straight to sleep. There's no insomnia involved in a nursing mama!
"I just had a wonderful time. So this project opened my eyes - depending on the projects I choose, acting can be a rewarding job."
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