Speaking at a Cannes press conference, Browning revealed that director Julia Leigh urged her to watch Lars Von Trier's controversial movie before she shot her film.
Browning said: "Julia and I had two weeks to just really pull apart the script and talk about every detail. Julia gave me some films to watch, and I remember the first one she told me to watch was Antichrist.
"It was really just to see Charlotte Gainsbourg's performance. That kind of bravery was really inspiring to me. To see that someone could be that open and that brave and give so much of themselves to a role."
Gainsbourg has reunited with Von Trier for Melancholia, which also premieres at this year's Cannes Film Festival.
Of her response when she was first approached about Sleeping Beauty, Browning told reporters.: "I said yes immediately. When I read the script I was really affected and felt really uncomfortable - in the best possible way. I loved the idea of challenging myself in that sense."
Asked about the innocence of her character, Browning said: "I physically look - I suppose - kind of innocent, but I don't consider Lucy [to be innocent]. I think she's very aware - I don't see her as a victim in any way. There is something perverse about her willingness to let the forces around her control her life and what she's doing."
Director Leigh added: "It's a radical form of submission... if the world is going to function on using or exploiting people in all sorts of ways, then maybe her perverse provocation is, 'My cheek is turned. Try me'. She really puts herself out there and tests herself in all sorts of ways."
> Sleeping Beauty review
> Sleeping Beauty: In Pictures
> Emily Browning: 'I don't mind nudity'
Watch the trailer for Sleeping Beauty below: