James Cameron Dismisses Kate Winslet Beating Tom Cruise’s Underwater Record in Avatar 2 as Mission Impossible Star Did Real Stunts While Holding His Breath

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Avatar: The Way of Water is anticipated to be one of the most epic sequels of all time, and why wouldn’t it be. James Cameron seems to have gone above and beyond for the second part of his precious sci-fi/adventure film and so has the film’s star cast. Ask Kate Winslet, she’d know. The English actress, who reunited with the Canadian filmmaker on the set of Avatar 2 for playing Ronal’s character in the movie, had to hold her breath underwater for seven minutes straight!

Kate Winslet
Kate Winslet

However, while the Avatar director is certainly content with the scenes he’s shot in the film, for him, Kate Winslet holding her breath this long doesn’t seem to be something awfully impressive, even though in doing so she ended up breaking Tom Cruise’s record who did for six minutes in Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation (2015). Albeit, what the Titanic actress did was no easy feat, but then again, she didn’t have to hold her breath underwater whilst simultaneously doing her own stunts either.

See also: “I’ll probably never be able to do it again”: Kate Winslet Risks Her Life For Avatar: The Way of Water, Beats Tom Cruise’s Underwater Record From Mission: Impossible


James Cameron Talks About Kate Winslet’s Underwater Scene in Avatar 2

James Cameron‘s Avatar (2009) was a cinematic masterpiece and got crowned as the highest-grossing film of all time. So, the director had some pretty big shoes to fill in while filming the sequel, which is exactly why he left no stones unturned for the same.

In a new interview with Deadline, Cameron went into the details of how exactly Kate Winslet was able to hold her breath for seven long minutes underwater. Talking about it, the Terminator director explained why he’s not particularly shocked or amazed by Winslet’s record, because though it’s tricky business, she wasn’t actually required to engage in any physical activities during the time or even “swim around.” Winslet was simply in a “Zen” like state which made it relatively easier for her to hold her breath.

See also: James Cameron Has Filmed Avatar 3 as a Trilogy Conclusion if ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ is a Box Office Bomb

Kate Winslet's underwater scene in Avatar 2
The filming of Kate Winslet’s underwater scene in Avatar 2

“We’ve got the video someplace, but her record is 7 minutes and 14 seconds. Now that said, that’s static apnea. She’s not swimming around, she’s face down, you go into a Zen trans-like state; you slow your heart rate down. She was taught how to do that.”

So, as impossible as it might seem, holding one’s breath underwater without having to cover any distance by swimming is vastly different from holding one’s breath whilst also performing vigorous stunts underwater. One exerts little to almost no energy, whereas the other is all about that.

Why Kate Winslet Was Able to Beat Tom Cruise’s Record

Remember the epic scene from Mission Impossible: Rouge Nation, wherein a part of Tom Cruise‘s heist took place underwater? Yes, the one that had everyone on the edge of their seats. Now while it’s a well known fact that Cruise had to hold his breath underwater for six minutes for that scene, what often gets overlooked is that he executed the whole stunt in one single take.

While The Holiday actress might have broken the record for holding her breath a minute or so more than Cruise did, she didn’t actually have to partake in any stunts while doing so. The Top Gun star, on the other hand, had to carry out practical stunt-work throughout the scene.


See also: “You’d have to pay me a lot of money to work with Jim”: Kate Winslet Reveals James Cameron Nearly Broke Her Down During ‘Titanic’, Fat-Shamed Her as Actress Returns For Avatar 2

Tom Cruise's underwater scene from Mission Impossible (2015)
Tom Cruise’s underwater scene from Mission Impossible (2015)

As Cameron himself pointed out, Winslet’s scene in Avatar 2 was “static apnea.” Translation, she had to hold her breath underwater without any movement whatsoever. Whereas Cruise was carrying out a professional stunt underwater in Christopher McQuarrie’s action/thriller.

Nevertheless, kudos to both the stars for their dedication towards both their respective projects.


Avatar: The Way of Water hits theatres on December 16, 2022.

Source: Deadline


Written by Khushi Shah

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With a prolific knowledge of everything pop culture and a strong penchant for writing, Khushi has penned over 700 articles during her time as an author at FandomWire.
An abnormal psychology student and an fervent reader of dark fiction, her most trusted soldiers are coffee and a good book.