Avatar 2 Cast Holding Their Breath For 4 Minutes

  • Theatrical
  • Science Fiction
Can Sigourney Weaver hold her breath for four minutes?
Can Sigourney Weaver hold her breath for four minutes? Lightstorm Entertainment

In a new interview with Vanity Fair James Cameron calls out the would-be critics of his anticipated Avatar 2:

“Basically, if you loved the first movie, you’re gonna love these movies, and if you hated it, you’re probably gonna hate these. If you loved it at the time, and you said later you hated it, you’re probably gonna love these.”

Most people seem to be in that last category. While its landmark special effects and presentation made 2009’s Avatar the biggest box office movie in world history, the simple narrative — essentially a sci-fi reskin of The Last Dances with Samurai has made the movie fade in the rearview. But Cameron seems confident he’ll bring us back onboard, partially by drawing a contrast with existing blockbuster franchises, positioning the series’ future stories as somewhere between a Lord of the Rings-style saga and Marvel’s sprawl:

“Let’s face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5. They’re fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta narrative, but they’re fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, ‘Oh, shit, all right, well I guess I better come back next year.’ Even though that all worked and everybody did.”

Cameron describes Avatar like Star Wars, with its individual episodes informing a trilogy-sweeping narrative. But the actual details are much, much stranger. It’s long been known that Avatar 2 will move the action to Pandora’s oceans, but Cameron reveals new details, including the astounding lengths actors must go to capture full dialogue scenes underwater, which Cameron describes when asked about Kate Winslet’s character.

“She blazed through for a couple of days of rehearsals and saw the world that we had created, and how we do the work, and she’s very excited. She plays a character who’s part of the Sea People, the reef people,” Cameron said. “The one thing she did do is demand that she do all her own water work. I said, ‘All right, that’s fine, we’ll have to teach you how to freedive.’ The other actors are up to three- and four-minute breath holds. We’ve already been doing underwater capture. We did a scene last week with six teenagers, well, actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language.”

Freediving and four-minute breath holds?!

But while Cameron is selling the Avatar narrative and characters, rather than special effects (this time), the director hasn’t abandoned his evangelism for new presentation techniques, either. Cameron shared plans for the original Avatar’s re-release: “We’re also going to do a conversion of Avatar to HDR.”

In Avatar 2 , Cameron intends to deepen the series’ “spiritual undercurrents,” but if that isn’t your cup of tea, he is also back in charge of the Terminator franchise:

“The story is mapped out over a three-film arc, but again, if we don’t make any money there isn’t gonna be a two and a three. Technically, we’re thinking of them as three, four, and five. As if Terminator,and Terminator 2 exist, and the other ones are kind of alternate time lines that are no longer relevant.”

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