Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor play real people, Maria and Henry, parents to three boys, all vacationing for the holidays in Thailand. But their dream vacation quickly becomes a nightmare.
"We knew what it was going to be going into it. I was very connected to the story, having spent hours and hours with Maria, speaking to her and listening and absorbing what she went through and the level of suffering," said Watts.
"The Impossible" is based on the true life story of one family, separated by disaster, surrounded by destruction and fighting to survive one of the worst natural disasters of our time.
"It was relentless and barbaric and violent. And there's that element to the film as well, that it is relentless. Ten minutes into the film, the tsunami arrives and the rest of the film is sort of panic stations, and that's what it should be like, I think," said McGregor.
During filming, Watts got a respiratory infection that she couldn't shake while shooting in water for six weeks. She said shooting the film was one of the hardest things she's done in a while.
"Physically, 100 percent, and, yeah, emotionally, like you said, it was high-pitched a lot of the days," said Watts.
"The Impossible" is rated PG-13. It opens Friday.