Home Entertainment Sigourney Weaver held her breath underwater for 6 minutes to shoot Avatar 2 scenes

Sigourney Weaver held her breath underwater for 6 minutes to shoot Avatar 2 scenes

3 min read

We often write about the bizarre lengths that actor Tom Cruise is willing to not kill himself go through to capture the perfect stunt for a movie, but he is not the only actor taking things to the extremes in ambitious scenes. And perhaps no upcoming movie is more ambitious than James Cameron’s Avatar sequels which will not just see the innovative director finally continue the story his former number one box office movie but also features remarkable new tech to make them just as ground-breaking as the original 2009 film was.

And actress Sigourney Weaver (somehow back as an alien for the sequels despite her character dying in the first film) revealed in an interview with The New York Times the extent of risks she was prepared to take as she trained with elite military divers to help her capture some of the film’s underwater shots, including being able to hold her breath for an incredible 6 minutes underwater. No, that is not a typo, the screen icon held her breath for an incredible 360 seconds. That’s a whole lot more Mississippi’s than I can ever do before passing out underwater:

My hope is that what I receive from the universe is even more outrageous than anything I can think of. 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.

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.

As a reminder, Weaver is not some sprightly youngster pulling this off, but was 70 years of age at the time of filming, showcasing not just her dedication to the role, but how remarkably fit she still is. I certainly hope to get close to that level one day when I’m big.

Weaver reportedly trained by deep-sea diving in Florida and Hawaii as well as with previously mentioned military divers. Part of her training involved taking big gulps of supplemental oxygen and reclining on the ocean floor “while manta rays glided over her,” until she could eventually hit that 6-minute mark. She and the other actors also had to master not squinting or clamping their mouths shut – normal reactions when underwater – so as to appear more natural for the motion-capture rigs they wore that would allow Cameron to eventually turn them into aliens on-screen using the wonders of CGI.

I am really excited to see exactly how visually dazzling Avatar 2 is when it releases on December 16, 2022, and exactly how this impressive water technology and shooting that Cameron has applied for the film, plays out on cinema screens. The first film revolutionised 3D cinema, and I have a feeling its sequels could further enhance what movies are capable of. It’s a lot of hype to live up to, but if anyone can live up to that sort of hype, its Cameron.

Despite shutdowns for the COVID-19 pandemic, Cameron recently revealed that Avatar 2 is “100 percent complete” while work on Avatar 3 was already 95% done. The latter is currently scheduled for December 2024, while a planned fourth and fifth film is set to hit cinemas in 2026 and 2028, respectively

Last Updated: October 21, 2020


  1. For the Emperor!

    October 21, 2020 at 10:25

    Breathing and breath control is a “lost ancient art” that we modern humans neglect in the rat race of life. I was myself on the way to 6 minutes (got to 3) before stuff happened and took me out of the practice. I should get back at it, really helps with stress relief, running and, um, other physical stuff…


    • Insomnia is fun

      October 21, 2020 at 10:29



  2. Insomnia is fun

    October 21, 2020 at 10:35

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