Gabrielle Union went full method to prepare herself for her upcoming thriller Breaking In.

In the film, the Bad Boys II star plays a single mother forced into survival mode when four criminal convicts kidnap her two children after a botched robbery at her father’s Malibu mansion.

To get ready for the intense shoot, Union did what many mothers do: “I drank rosé [wine] and did Pilates,” she told PEOPLE at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.

“You’d be surprised how Pilates gets you into shape and gets you stretched up,” the actress added.

“The whole point of my character is she’s a mom. She wasn’t expecting to turn into a Navy Seal on the drive up to pack up her deceased father’s house,” she said. “We just wanted it to be a normal mom doing extraordinary things to save her family. I was tempted to take boxing, but I wanted it to look as natural as possible, all adrenaline and no skills.”

Gabrielle Union at CinemaCon
| Credit: Ben Trivett

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Union also served as a producer on the film. Speaking onstage during the Universal Studios presentation at the theater owner conference, the Bring It On star said that she was once an “it girl” but now at 41, is someone the industry is trying to “put out to pasture.” Because of that, she now feels empowered as a producer.

“All those people who were put out to pasture who were hot in ’07 and forgotten about in 2010, I want to give you a job,” she said. “I want to make sure you can feed your family. I know you have more to give. I know that women over 27 still are amazing and viable and sexy. We just got to have the opportunity.”

Breaking In opens May 11.