While filming Avatar 2, Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for seven minutes, beating Tom Cruise's record from Mission: Impossible Rogue Nation.
While filming for James Cameron's Avatar 2, Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for more than seven minutes, beating a record famously held by Tom Cruise in Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation. Before having his record broken, Tom Cruise held his breath for six minutes while filming an underwater stunt for the fifth Mission: Impossible movie.
Across their various social media pages, Avatar 2 debuted a first look image of Winslet submerged in a large tank while wearing weights and filming a scene for the upcoming Avatar sequel. Winslet did not appear in the first Avatar film, and based on the image shared, she appears to be playing some sort of marine life form with what look to be wings. Filming Avatar 2 required much of its cast to shoot scenes underwater, and Winslet has gone all out preparing for her role and has described bits of her training in interviews. "I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar," Winslet states in an interview with THR, "and that was just incredible."
According to revealed plot details, Avatar 2 is set to continue the story of Jake Scully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana) as they travel across Pandora's oceans and come face-to-face with the sea-dwelling clan called the Metkayina, where they meet a Na'vi named Ronal, played by Winslet. Winslet shared more details about the sequence and how she overcame difficulties while filming it:
“I was walking on the bottom of the tank. That’s a big ceremonial sequence with those huge heavy wings. That was quite scary. The thing is, when you can hold your breath for seven minutes, you become unafraid. Actually, strangely, I was able to rely on my own ability to hold my breath for that long. Somehow I was not afraid, at all.”
Based on the circumstances, it makes sense that Winslet playing an underwater creature would result in her having to learn to hold her breath for considerable lengths of time. Evidently, she has put her newly learned talents to good use by helping herself overcome her fears. In Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation, the stunt that required Cruise to hold his breath for over six minutes involved him being underwater while switching files in a security facility. During the scene, Cruise's Ethan Hunt is only supposed to hold his breath for three minutes, but his task becomes more complicated after he is struck by a mechanical arm sweeping across the security tank. For his stunt, Cruise was assisted and trained by divers and a military specialist who taught him tricks for holding his breath longer.
No matter the reason why each actor needed to hold their breath so long, both feats are incredibly impressive and indicate such a dedication to their craft that both actors have. Moreover, the tasks suggests a very healthy working relationship between actor and director. Avatar 2 marks the reunion of Cameron and Winslet after she appeared in Titanic over 20 years earlier. It's clear that between Winslet and Cameron and Cruise and Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation helmer Christopher McQuarrie, both directors have tremendous trust in and respect for their stars and vice versa. The long-awaited Avatar 2 is set to release at the end of 2022, a whole 13 years after the first film. And based on all this information, it's clear that Cameron is asking for his actors' complete commitment to their roles, and Winslet is completely prepared to meet those expectations.