Avatar 2: Sigourney Weaver Details Rigorous Training for Underwater Shoots
These past months, we’ve been getting little teases of James Cameron’s long-in-development Avatar sequels through previously released behind-the-scenes photos from its New Zealand set which featured the cast doing some underwater stunts. As it turns out, the filming of the upcoming sequel’s underwater scenes was much more difficult than what it seems like with Oscar nominee Sigourney Weaver finally opening up about the intense training that the cast went through before being able to do the underwater stunts.
Speaking with The New York Times, Weaver revealed that most of her preparation went into deep-sea diving in Florida and Hawaii and was also able to train with elite military divers, who taught her how to hold her breath for more than six minutes.
“My hope is that what I receive from the universe is even more outrageous than anything I can think of,” Weaver said. “I don’t really say to myself, ‘Well, you can’t do this.’ Or, ‘You can’t do that.’ Let me at it! And we’ll see.”
The 71-year-old action star also detailed the filming challenges that she and other members of the cast had to go through such as: “learning how to not to squint or clamp their mouths shut — both natural reactions when you’re submerged — during take after take in a gigantic water tank,“; and having “weights around her waist and professional divers who sped her back to the surface for air at brief, regular intervals.”
Although at first, she did had some doubts of doing such demanding stunts but Weaver went on to explain that it was something she really wanted to do and overcome which only further proves how badass she really is just like her iconic character Ellen Ripley in Cameron’s Alien franchise.
“I had some concerns. 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.’”
The cast of the Avatar franchise includes Kate Winslet, Edie Falco, Michelle Yeoh, Vin Diesel, Jemaine Clement, and Oona Chaplin alongside a slate of young actors. Returning cast members include Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Joel David Moore, Dileep Rao, Stephen Lang, Matt Gerald, and Sigourney Weaver.
Cameron previously explained that Stephen Lang’s Colonel Miles Quaritch is coming back for all four sequels and will be the main villain throughout the story. Filming officially started on Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 on September 25, 2017.
After some shuffling of the schedule, Avatar 2 has been pushed back a full year from December 17, 2021 to December 22, 2022. While Avatar 3 has been pushed back from December 22, 2023 to December 2024 with Avatar 4 to open two years after that on December 18, 2026 (originally December 2025) and Avatar 5 will drop on December 22, 2028 (originally December 17, 2027). Although Avatar 4 and Avatar 5 will only be released with director James Cameron’s caveat that Avatar 2 and 3 are successful at the box office.