The pair – who appear together in new movie ‘The Beaver’ – forged a strong bond after working together on 1994’s ‘Maverick’, which the actress believes is due to their shared disinterest in celebrity culture.

She said: “We’re talkers, both of us. We have that touch with each other where it doesn’t matter how many years go by or what time of the morning it is, we can talk to each other.

“He’s a really loyal and trustworthy person, just a really good friend and not full of s**t. He’s not a star, he’s not a celebrity. He’s a complicated person.

“I don’t have particular friendships with any other actors. There are some people I’ve known for years who I like, but not like this. This is a really deep friendship.”

Shortly after work on the film finished, Mel was embroiled in a scandal when voicemail tapes were leaked of him allegedly threatening to attack former girlfriend Oksana Grigorieva, and Jodie believes her friend’s personal woes gave his performance in the film an even stronger edge.

She told Psychologies magazine: “I’m so grateful for his performance that it’s hard for me to every feel anything but joy that he’s in the movie and him too – he really loves the film.

“You see him struggling and it’s a window into him. That’s what he brings to this movie that nobody else could. He’s a man who’s suffered and you can see the strife etched on his face.”