By Michael Miller
Updated September 14, 2016 at 09:35 PM EDT

Deepwater Horizon

  • Movie

This article originally appeared on

For Gina Rodriguez and Kate Hudson, taking on their challenging roles in Deepwater Horizon was about honoring the 11 lives lost that day.

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill began on April 20, 2010, and quickly turned into the worst man-made environmental disaster in history. The movie, also starring Mark Wahlberg and Kurt Russell, tells the story of the men and women aboard the rig who fought to save lives in the aftermath of the explosion.

“Really I think the essence of the film is more about paying tribute,” Rodriguez explained at the PEOPLE / EW / InStyle studio at the Toronto International Film Festival, alongside her costars Wahlberg, Hudson, Russell and director Peter Berg.

In order to honor their characters, who many people might not be familiar with, Hudson added that it’s “actually more important that you’re portraying the essences [of the person].”

“And the courage and bravery,” Rodriguez added. She also described a scene, in which she and Wahlberg are fighting to survive on a helipad, that was especially important to her to portray honestly.

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“I definitely wanted to make the moment that I have with Mark [Wahlberg] on the helipad,” she said. “That was really important to me because I have never experienced a moment where I thought I was faced with death, and to try to embody all the different emotions that one might go through – without having to experience it – and then working across from this awesome monster,” she said, pointing to Wahlberg, “was really important to me.”

“Everyone always says this is an incredible cast and sometimes they’re lying, sometimes it’s not an incredible cast,” Berg added. “But when you see what it really means to be an actor – and that there really is a tremendous craft in acting – and to be able to sit back and watch these kind of guys go and remind [yourself] why acting really is a skill.”

He added: “I think a lot of youngsters could maybe pay attention to a bit more today, there’s more than just showing up with the big social media following, there’s a real skill.”

Episode Recaps

Deepwater Horizon

  • Movie
  • PG-13
  • 107 minutes