The story immediately caught the attention of actor Chris Pine. "The script starts and pretty immediately you get involved in essentially a rollercoaster ride of human endurance," he says. "It was just a quick, wonderful, dramatic read. The ocean I find is very daunting, frightening, mysterious and powerful. That intrigued me."

Chris Pine stars in Disney's The Finest Hours

He was also drawn to the story because the characters are "honest, solid, blue collar men that go out and do great things and then go home". So Pine decided to play his character "like an old movie star would play a character in a 50s studio film. It was made by Disney, and there's something so earnest and heartfelt and of another era about it. It wasn't brooding or dark or edgy. It was just good storytelling."

While Pine met some of the men who had actually been involved in the real events, the character he played died before he landed the role. "I got to know Bernie Webber a little bit through his recordings, a little bit through his book," he says. "He wasn't the sharpest guy. He wasn't college educated, which was something that kind of bummed him out and made him very self-conscious. He was shy, introverted, quiet, gentle, very vulnerable, and all these really sweet things that made me just love the guy. It was in stark contrast to the characters I usually play, which are much sharper, harder, stronger and maybe sometimes a bit colder or angrier."

Shooting the movie was physically daunting, but Pine threw himself into the stunt work. "It is pretty terrifying when you see all that water coming at you, but it is really fun," he says. "Yeah, it gets more difficult when we're out there and they're pounding us with the elements and the wind. It's just devastatingly freezing!"

And all of this was put into perspective by the presence of the real men, now in their 80s, on-set watching him. "They've lived an entire lifetime, more of a life than many of us will ever live," Pine says. "And now they're having these young punks try to portray them. It must have been such a trip! It was a great honour for me."

Watch the trailer for The Finest Hours: