LOS ANGELES: The cast of filmmaker James Cameron's upcoming sci-fi film 'Avatar: The Way of Water' was thoroughly trained to film underwater scenes as the director wanted them to feel real. According to Variety, though Kate Winslet left everyone involved with the long-awaited sequel stunned by holding her breath underwater for seven minutes, Zoe Saldana was certainly no rookie.
Cameron had "the world's best breath-hold specialists" train his film's cast so that he could film extended long takes underwater. Winslet held her breath for seven minutes, while Sigourney Weaver previously revealed she got up to six and a half minutes. Saldana's longest underwater breath hold clocked in at five minutes.
"I'm very competitive, but we had an Oscar-winning actress in our cast that did seven minutes. I got almost up to five minutes. That's a big accomplishment, you guys," Saldana told The New York Times, reported Variety. "Five minutes is huge. Sigourney did six and a half," Cameron stated, adding, he never expected Winslet to hold her breath for seven minutes and added, "And she didn't either!"
Talking about Winslet's character in the upcoming film, Cameron said, "Kate's character is someone who grew up underwater as an ocean-adapted Na'vi -- they're so physically different from the forest Na'vi, that we'd almost classify them as a subspecies. So she had to be utterly calm underwater, and it turned out that she was a natural." A majority of shots in 'Avatar: The Way of Water' were filmed by Cameron in large water tanks so that his underwater scenes would not feel fake. He did this so that the underwater scenes don't look like the ones in 'Aquaman' or Disney's upcoming 'The Little Mermaid', as per Variety.