Sigourney Weaver is opening up about the intense training process she underwent for underwater scenes in the upcoming Avatar sequels, revealing that she trained with an expert in order to learn how to hold her breath for over six minutes under water so that director James Cameron could film underwater scenes for the long-awaited Avatar sequel. In an interview with The New York Times (via IndieWire) Weaver, who was 70 years-old when filming Avatar 2, that while she was concerned, she really wanted to do the stunts.
"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."
Weaver continued, "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.'"
Weaver explained that a good chunk of her preparation was spent deep sea diving in Key West, Florida as well as Hawaii where she would "recline on the ocean floor while manta rays glided over her". She also trained with elite military divers so that she learned to hold her breath for more than six minutes, after an intake of supplemental oxygen. With Weaver and other cast members able to hold their breath for an extended period of time, Cameron was able to film longer underwater.
And when it comes to the filming of Avatar 2, Cameron recently confirmed that the filming of the live-action elements of the Avatar sequel is now 100-percent finished and filming on the live-action segments for Avatar 3 are nearing completion as well with the director revealing that only about ten percent of Avatar 3 remains to be filmed.
"The day we deliver Avatar 2, we'll just start working on finishing Avatar 3," Cameron said. "So, where we are right now, I'm down in New Zealand shooting. We're shooting the remainder of the live action. We've got about 10-percent left to go. We're 100-percent complete on Avatar 2, and we're sort of 95-percent complete on Avatar 3."
Of course, even with filming complete on Avatar 2 and near complete on Avatar 3, it will still be some time before they hit theaters. The Avatar sequels were delayed by Walt Disney Studios back in July following a series of release schedule reshuffling by the studio. The still untitled second film was originally slated to debut on December 17, 2021 but is now set to arrive on December 16, 2022, all the other films have shifted back one year as well, though it's still unconfirmed if Avatar 4 or 5 will happen as James Cameron has said previously.
"Let’s face it, if Avatar 2 and 3 don’t make enough money, there’s not going to be a 4 and 5," Cameron told Vanity Fair in 2017. "They’re fully encapsulated stories in and of themselves. It builds across the five films to a greater kind of meta-narrative, but they’re fully formed films in their own right, unlike, say, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, where you really just had to sort of go, 'Oh, s**t, all right, well I guess I better come back next year.' Even though that all worked, and everybody did."
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