The battle of the sexes gears up for one more round in the new film The Ugly Truth. In it, Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler square off as a pent-up TV producer and the loudmouth lout hired to boost her morning news show’s rating.

Naturally, they hate each other right off the bat.

The film pokes fun at many of the anxieties men and women face in the dating world, and even though production wrapped months ago, the two stars are still debating.

“Would you want a woman to call you not once but twice if you haven’t returned her phone call?” Heigl asks. Butler’s response? A simple, “Yeah,” to which Heigl raises a dubious eyebrow: “Really?”

One thing the stars can agree on is how physically demanding shooting one of the film’s more infamous scenes was. Let’s just say it involves a business dinner and vibrating panties. And to get the scene shot correctly, the actors had to perform it more than 35 times.

Butler has high praise for his leading lady after enduring so many takes. “It was one of the most brilliant performances I’ve ever seen,” he says. “She was, dare I say, bang on. It was incredible.”

“It was physically exhausting,” Heigl admits. “By the end of the day, I felt like I’d run a marathon. No one wants to orgasm 35 times.”

For Heigl, a comedy rated R in the United States isn’t new territory, considering her star turn in 2007’s Knocked Up. And she sees a distinct difference in that kind of raunchier comedy — which has been winning big at the box office lately with films like The Hangover — versus safer fare, like her PG-13 hit 27 Dresses, which Heigl admits has an air of fantasy about it.

“As much as I love that younger audience, I still feel like I want to tell a real story to people my age. And we throw (the F-word) around a lot,” she admits. “When you have to censor so much for that PG-13 rating, it starts to get a little cute.”

Heigl admits she’s a fan of foul language on screen as well as off. “I talk like that all the time anyway,” she says. “I love raunchy humour. I don’t know why. I should probably get a little more sophisticated.

“It’s not that I always want to do R-rated movies,” she insists. “There’s just something about the ability to be crass and drop the F-bomb on occasion.”

As for Butler, it’s usually more than occasional when it comes to cursing. So how did the foul-mouthed Scotsman enjoy being in a comedy with R-rated dialogue?

“I was in heaven,” he says, though he admits learning his lines was a bit trickier for this than for his more action-fuelled work. “In my defence, I never f—ing shut up in this movie.”

• The Ugly Truth hits theatres on Friday

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