This week's release of 'Far From the Madding Crowd' is the third period film this year with Belgian actor Matthias Schoenaerts in the romantic leading-man role. Before starring opposite Carey Mulligan in the 1870s, he wooed Michelle Williams in the 1930s in 'Suite Francaise' and Kate Winslet in the 17th century in 'A Little Chaos'. For an actor who got his start in the Oscar-nominated 'Bullhead', then played a street fighter in 'Rust & Bone', these costume dramas must feel like a big change of pace.

Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in 'Far From The Madding Crowd'Matthias Schoenaerts and Carey Mulligan in 'Far From The Madding Crowd'

There's also the fact that his character in 'Far From the Madding Crowd' is a sheep farmer, so there was a lot to learn. "I had to go to boot camp," he laughs. "Shaving, washing, everything, just so I can pretend, make it look like I know what I'm doing."

More: Read The Review For 'Far From The Madding Crowd' 

The 37-year-old Matthias has had some more contemporary films in the last year (namely the American-set dramas 'Blood Ties', 'The Drop' and 'The Loft'), but he doesn't worry about trying to manage his career. "Yeah, don't think too much about what's behind you and what's ahead, just be where you are and enjoy it and be grateful and keep working," he says philosophically. "I don't know if I had a particular dream. I knew I wanted to work with people that inspired me. But it's one step at a time, really trying to give it everything I have. I never had that ambition of 'Oh I want to get there' in terms of success, because it's hard to define what success is. Of course, I'm extremely thankful for all the appreciation we're getting for the work we're doing, but that's not the reason. It empowers you, it gives you a lot of strength and even more will to continue to do the work. But it's not an ambition in itself."

Watch The Trailer For 'Far From The Madding Crowd' Here:

Matthias has already finished work on three European films due for release later this year: the post-traumatic stress thriller 'Close Protection' with Diane Kruger, the crime mystery 'A Bigger Splash' with Dakota Johnson and Tilda Swinton, and the true transgendered drama 'The Danish Girl' with Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander. He's also getting ready to return to the early 1800s for an epic TV miniseries about American explorers 'Lewis and Clark'.

More: Carey Mulligan Discusses Her Character In 'Far From The Madding Crowd'