Carla Gugino has starred in her share of high-profile movies, including such crowd-pleasing, special-effects-heavy blockbusters as Night at the Museum and San Andreas.

But as the actress told EW at the recent Tribeca Film Festival, she also has a soft spot for more personal, modestly scaled projects, like the basketball drama Wolves.

Gugino recalled that she was coming off the worldwide press tour for San Andreas when writer-director Bart Freundlich sent her the script about a high-school hoops star (Taylor John Smith) whose gambling-addicted father (Michael Shannon) starts to put a heavy strain on the family.

“I was so taken with the beauty of the story and the fact that it was this small movie about really big notions,” Gugino said. “I’ve always been a believer that the most personal can become the most universal, and in this case it’s such a personal story to [Freundlich] that it really moved me, and so the second it came my way I was like, ‘I’m in.'”

For more from Gugino and costar Smith, watch the video above.