By Maureen Lee Lenker
October 08, 2018 at 10:32 PM EDT
Lars Niki/Getty Images for Entertainment Weekly

Even if a scene doesn’t require you to cry, it turns out acting can be really emotional (who’d have thought?!).

Rising stars David Ajala (Nightflyers), Virginia Gardner (Halloween, Runaways), Jack Quaid (The Boys), Melissa Roxburgh (Manifest), and Cailee Spaeny (Bad Times at the El Royale) opened up about the last acting moment that made them cry with EW Editor at Large Lynette Rice at Entertainment Weekly‘s Breaking Big panel at New York Comic Con on Sunday.

David Ajala

Ajala, who stars in the highly anticipated SYFY series Nightflyers (based on the novella by Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin), told NYCC audiences he was last brought to tears while working on the new show. “I was of two minds about accepting the offer of working on Nightflyers, even though George R.R. Martin is attached to it,” he revealed. “Because for me, if we’re setting this in the year 2093, I needed to feel these characters were grounded. Because we’re dealing with so many advanced versions of technology, I need these characters to feel real…Halfway through the season, we’re doing a scene where one of the actors is about to lose his wife and his child right in front of him. We’re doing the scene, and as the captain, I’m trying to keep it together, to assure him everything will be fine. The way these guys played the truth of this scene, oh my, it broke my heart. It was so touching and it was so inspiring. I remember going back to my room and just having a single tear, and just being thankful for saying yes to this gig, because I think this show is going to change the game. I feel so humbled to be a part of it.”

Virginia Gardner

Gardner, who stars on Hulu’s Marvel’s The Runaways, reached further back in her career for a weepy moment — her very first movie premiere. “When I was younger, I had to do a report on a city you wanted to live in, and I had wanted to be an actor from a young age. I did mine on LA, and specifically the Chinese Theatre because we had to pick a point,” she explained. “My first premiere for a movie I did was at the Chinese Theatre, and walking on to the carpet, seeing those people, everything coming full circle, it was such an emotional experience.”

Jack Quaid

Quaid, unusually, looked forward rather than backward, anticipating a future cry sesh. The young actor, who features on the upcoming Amazon superhero show The Boys, is about to wrap filming on the first season and knows it’s going to be emotional. “For me, it’s always goodbyes,” he said. “I wrap in three days and in three days time, I will be a puddle of tears, I know it. Because you form this family and it’s not like the family goes away, but a chapter closes and it’s bittersweet.”

Melissa Roxburgh

One of the stand-out talents of NBC’s new hit series Manifest, Roxburgh admitted that a scene from the show’s pilot got to her. “We’re coming back and five-and-a-half years have gone on, and [we’re] coming back to a lot of bad news,” she explained. “The way that Jeff [Rake], our showrunner, wrote that scene did break my heart because imagining losing that much time with the people you loved, and, in that time, losing people you loved, the reality of how that would feel sucks. It got me.”

Callee Spaeny

Like Gardner,Spaeny, one of the newcomers featured in Bad Times at the El Royale, told a story involving the Chinese Theatre. “I just went to my first premiere for Bad Times and it was [my] first time at the Chinese Theatre,” she recalled. “I get on the carpet, step and repeat, and then I started my first interview and I don’t know who I was interviewing with, I feel bad for them because I just started bawling. Like, ‘How do you feel to be here?’ Simple question, and I just was like [crying sounds]. I just broke down. It was super surreal.”