Angela Bassett Says“ 9-1-1 ”Cruise Ship Disaster Left Her 'Soggy, Wet and Cold' — and Brought Memories of “Black Panther”

"It was horrible!" actress tells PEOPLE of what it was really like to shoot the ABC show's season 7 return

<p>Amy Sussman/Getty</p>

Amy Sussman/Getty

Angela Bassett may have a new Oscar in her living room, but that didn’t spare her from a sinking ship.

“It was horrible!” the actress tells PEOPLE with a laugh about the waterlogged reality of shooting the season 7 premiere of ABC's 9-1-1, which kicks off with an epic cruise ship disaster on Thursday night.

In the episode, Bassett’s field sergeant Athena and her police captain husband Bobby (Peter Krause) “are going on our honeymoon finally after four years,” she says. But this is 9-1-1, and things quickly take a turn when a passenger goes missing, pirates attack and a giant storm looms.

“In that scenario, and as you can imagine, it is anything but relaxing,” says Bassett, 65. 

Related: 9-1-1's Bobby and Athena Are on a Honeymoon from Hell as Cruise Ship Capsizes in Season 7 Trailer (Exclusive)

<p>Disney/Chris Willard</p>

Disney/Chris Willard

Filming the upcoming three-episode disaster — with dire scenes paying homage to The Poseidon Adventure — required Bassett to trade dry land for a major water tank.

It wasn't all bad. “They make sure the temperature is a nice, warm 91 degrees, I heard. And that part's good,” she says. But still, “you wind up being in it for 12, 13, 14 hours. And you have to trust your cast and crew because you know what people do in water,” she laughs.

The experience reminded Bassett of shooting Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, in which her character Queen Ramonda died by a tragic sacrificial drowning. “Again, with the water. I think it's a running theme for me,” she says. “Just being soggy and wet and cold all day is very uncomfortable. I mean, who doesn't love a hot shower, but one that lasts 15, 16 hours? Not so much.”

Related: 9-1-1's Oliver Stark Teases a Crossover with Another ABC Show (Exclusive)

There is good news for at least one couple on the show. With a wedding on the horizon for the long-troubled Maddie (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and Howard “Chimney” Han (Kenneth Choi), this season 9-1-1 plans to show them a little mercy.

“It’s going to go super smooth,” promised showrunner Tim Minear during a set visit as part of the Television Critics Association winter press tour, per TVLine. “On Twitter, you see the fans going, ‘Why can’t they be happy?’ It’s like, oh, you don’t want to see them on the show anymore is what you’re saying. So it’s going to be really smooth. It’s going to go great.”

<p>Justin Stephens/Disney</p>

Justin Stephens/Disney

Bassett, who is also an executive producer on 9-1-1, along with its spinoff 9-1-1: Lone Star, recently opened up to PEOPLE about the demands of shooting 18 episodes a year for the high-octane network drama.

"I love the work that I do here. It's very satisfying," she says, while noting the schedule often finds her leaving home before the sun rises and returning to husband Courtney B. Vance and their 18-year-old twins Bronwyn and Slater after dark. There is some guilt that comes with that, she allows.

“But also I hope that what will come out of that is that [my children] see a mama, a woman, a Black woman achieving her dreams, having success,” says the star. “They’ll see that hard work pays off. And they’ll be about that life for themselves.”

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Season 7 of 9-1-1 premieres Thursday at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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