Sigourney Weaver ‘Had Some Concerns’ About The Intense ‘Avatar 2’ Underwater Training

James Cameron has a reputation for pushing his actors to their physical limits, but he found a willing participant in Sigourney Weaver, who has detailed the intense underwater training she endured for Avatar 2. The long-awaited sequel will center on the aquatic portions of the fictional planet of Pandora, which required Weaver to prep for months with elite military divers, who taught the 70-year-old actress how to hold her breath for up to six minutes.

“I had some concerns,” Weaver told The New York Times. “But that’s what the training was for. And I really wanted to do it. I didn’t want anyone to think, ‘Oh, she’s old, she can’t do this.’”

On top of learning how to conserve her oxygen, Weaver also had to work on her underwater acting, which required stifling reflexes that would show up on camera. Via IndieWire:

“Weaver and other members of the cast had to learn not to squint or clamp their mouths shut — both natural reactions when you’re submerged — during take after take in a gigantic water tank. She had weights around her waist and professional divers who sped her back to the surface for air at brief, regular intervals.”

While the work sounds grueling, Weaver embraced the challenge and says it’s important to her to never tell herself she can’t do something. “Let me at it! And we’ll see,” she tells the Times. Kate Winslet will also appear in the underwater film, but she’s already had plenty of practice with Cameron’s aquatic filming style while working on Titanic. The director once boasted that Winslet was so good at her training that she could hold her breath for seven minutes. Granted, that’s a minute longer than Weaver, but both actors’ underwater skills are equally impressive especially when you factor in the no-squinting part. Nothing about that is easy.

(Via New York Times)