The Avatar sequels are some of the only film productions that have been able to continue filming during an out-of-control pandemic. Why? Because James Cameron and team are making them in New Zealand, which has been able to conquer COVID-19, twice, while other nations, like the U.S., couldn’t even do it once. In fact, Cameron announced the first sequel was done filming in late September, with the third film nearly completed. But we’re only now seeing one of its niftiest first-looks: one of its stars, Kate Winslet, underwater.
From Kate Winslet's recent interview in @THR: “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible. My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff.” pic.twitter.com/ZYAmZdNgHS
— Avatar (@officialavatar) October 26, 2020
Granted, this is all pre-CGI, and presumably the sight of the Oscar-winning actress — whose seven total nominations include one for Cameron’s Titanic — in a full-body suit with minimalist breathing equipment will be rather enhanced in the finished film. (Hopefully that cape remains.) We also already knew that she was playing some sea creature — or as the character has previously been described, a “water person” — named Ronal, so this isn’t a total surprise. Even the quote attached to it in the tweet — “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible. My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff” — is from a Hollywood Reporter profile from August.
Still, even a pre-CGI Winslet underwater, six-plus feet away from an also underwater cameraman, is pretty nifty. And it’s a reminder that Cameron is returning to his The Abyss days, which he also shot in a massive water tank, forcing his actors to work while submerged. The tales from that shoot are infamous, and he wasn’t even filming during a pandemic.
Anyway, you’ll have to wait another two years, at least, to see “water person” Winslet in action. Even though the first two sequels are almost in the can, those special effects take some time to create. Avatar 2 is due in late 2022.