Avatar: The Way of Water star Zoe Saldaña reveals her personal record for holding her breath underwater during the production of the Avatar sequel. Saldaña will reprise her role of Neytiri in the upcoming sequel to James Cameron’s 2009 hit. Avatar: The Way of Water is set to release on December 16, though its box-office projections are below Avatar’s total earnings.
Just over 13 years after the original Avatar debuted in theatres, Avatar: The Way of Water is set to return audiences to the distant world of Pandora, transporting them from the planet’s floating mountains and lush forests to its unexplored coasts. A decade after Sam Worthington’s Jake Sully first joined the Avatar program and subsequently fell in love with Na’vi Neytiri, the two have started their own family, but a mysterious new threat and the prospect of new conflicts with humanity forces them to leave their homes, taking to the oceans of Pandora. With highly advanced underwater motion-capture techniques being used to create the sequel, the Avatar sequel promises more stunning visual effects that will build upon the original film’s success, and one star has now opened up about her own experiences when taking part in the complex underwater filming.
As part of a larger interview with The New York Times, Cameron and the cast of Avatar: The Way of Water discussed the film’s underwater filming techniques. During the interview, Saldaña revealed that she had set a personal record of holding her breath underwater for 5 minutes during the motion-capture process for the underwater scenes, while the director revealed another member of the cast who had her own impressive record. Check out Saldaña and Cameron’s exchange below:
Saldaña: I got almost up to five minutes. That’s a big accomplishment, you guys.
Cameron: Five minutes is huge. Sig did six and a half.
While Avatar: The Way of Water’s visual effects are impressive, Worthington has openly discussed the technology’s drawbacks, revealing that he found filming while diving with the equipment one of the most difficult things he’s had to do in his career. The actor explained that he found having to balance both the freediving and performance capture with his own fears emotionally taxing to the point where he feared for his life. With the cast having to take part in real diving expeditions to prepare for filming, Worthington’s perspective is understandable, as he had to balance delivering a performance with the film’s experimental technology with making sure he wasn’t putting his health at risk during the unprecedented process. Despite Worthington’s openness about the burdens of production, it is clear the cast chose to look at the positive sides of the situation, with it having been revealed that newcomer Kate Winslet had beaten Tom Cruise’s record for holding one’s breath during a film’s production, something which she later stated she was proud of.
While Avatar astounded audiences with its vast, colorful alien worlds, Avatar: The Way of Water promises to push things further than before with its underwater adventures. Cameron has been at the forefront of pushing what can be done in filmmaking throughout his career, and the Avatar sequel promises to see the director once more innovate through highly-experimental effects. While the technology may still be incredibly complex and difficult to prepare for, it is clear from Saldaña’s pride in her impressive record that she and the cast are proud of what they achieved throughout filming.