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May 18, 2015 12:45 PM

Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara are making waves and earning rave reviews at Cannes for their work in the drama Carol – including a steamy love scene.

Mara, 30 and Blanchett, 46, play a store clerk and a wealthy housewife, respectively, in the big-screen adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s 1952 novel The Price of Salt. The women enter into a secret, torrid romance, which escalates after a tender sexual encounter.

The scene, which required on-screen nudity, didn’t faze the actresses, however, according to Variety.

“I’m nude quite often, so it wasn’t a big deal for me,” Mara said in a press conference for the film. Rooney previously stripped down for 2011’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

Blanchett, who prepared for the role by reading erotic fiction from the 1950s, added that “a lot of strangers” saw her naked when she gave birth. Of the film’s pivotal romantic moment, she said, “It’s an important scene.”

The Oscar-winner made headlines earlier this week after comments she made while promoting Carol were misconstrued. Despite initial reports that Blanchett admitted to having relationships with women off-screen “many times,” the actress later said she wasn’t alluding to sexual relationships.

“From memory, the conversation ran: ‘Have you had relationships with women?’ And I said: ‘Yes, many times. Do you mean have I had sexual relationships with women? Then the answer is no.’ But that obviously didn’t make it,” she said at a press conference Sunday.

Head over to PEOPLE’S Cannes blog for exclusive behind-the-scenes coverage and live updates!

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