Avatar: The Way of Water mostly takes place in the sea. The cast of the film had to go through intense training for swimming and deep sea diving. It made filming the sequel a series of challenges for Zoe Saldana. James Cameron’s highly anticipated sequel to the 2009 film Avatar follows the Sully family exploring the marvelous planet of Pandora as they try to survive. This leads them to leave the forest and take shelter with the Metkayina clan, who live by the sea.
While attending the L.A. premiere of Avatar: The Way of Water, Saldana who plays Neytiri in the franchise, talked about the pressure and fear she faced while filming the underwater scenes for the film.
Filming Underwater Scenes Was the Hardest For Zoe Saldana
Avatar: The Way of Water introduced the Metkayina clan, who lives and thrives by the sea. The cast was required to film a major part of the sequel underwater, leading them to go through intense training sessions for swimming and deep diving.
Like everyone else, Zoe Saldana was also very excited about the sequel. She said, “I was like, ‘Oh my God, he did it again. He (James Cameron) raised the stakes, how did he do it?” However, when she learned about underwater scenes, she was nervous and excited at the same time.
“And two it was like, ‘We’re going to do what? We’re going to perform underwater? Great, Jim! Oh wow! I’m so excited,'” The Losers star said. During the L.A. premiere of Avatar 2, she shared that her fear of filming underwater scenes kept getting in the way.
“Fear can be paralyzing and it was more like thinking, ‘How am I going to do this?'” Saldana said. However, the courses and the practice made her believe that she can do it.
“But once we took the courses and went into the practice — the confidence that we all gained from knowing that we can actually do it, it doesn’t have to be forever but we can just do it, for now, it was something I could have never hoped for.”
Saldana has shared that training for free diving was nerve-wracking for her but after some time it “became a really exhilarating journey” for her. The Words star was able to overcome her fear and managed to hold her breath underwater for almost five minutes.
Zoe Saldana Held Her Breath Underwater For Five Minutes During Avatar 2
While Kate Winslet broke Tom Cruise’s record by holding her breath for seven minutes and 14 seconds, the rest of the cast also joined her in the challenge. Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver weren’t that far from Winslet’s record.
Sigourney Weaver held her breath for six-and-a-half minutes and the Vantage Point star also managed to hold her breath for almost five minutes. Saldana shared that at first, it was quite difficult for her, but the director presented it as a challenge.
“If he’s not backing out, you kind of have to step it up,” she said. She also shared that the director provided them with resources to prepare for the film.
“We trained with these amazing free divers that, you know, he surrounded us with. And I went from thinking that that was completely impossible for me to obtain, to holding my breath for close to five minutes, and like a quarter.”
The Star Trek actor shared that it helped boost her confidence, and she will be able to carry it with her, like the others things she learned for the film. While preparing for the 2009 Avatar, Zoe Saldana had to undergo a rigorous training program, which included martial arts, archery, and horse riding.
Avatar: The Way of Water is playing in theaters.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter