Avatar 2: Jon Landau Shares Story About Kate Winslet’s Impressive Underwater Skills

Kate Winslet in Contagion
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

There's a lot we know about Avatar 2 and the upcoming installments in the franchise; in fact, writer/director James Cameron made it known that the underwater worlds of Pandora’s universal neighborhood would be important in future installments. Judging by all of the underwater hijinks we’ve seen from the set of the long-awaited sequel, that promise is going to be very much fulfilled. Recently, producer Jon Landau even shared a badass story about Kate Winslet’s underwater skills, and how she impressed him during one particular day on the Avatar 2 shoot.

Avatar 2 and Avatar 3 in particular take place in predominantly aquatic settings, as noted in a piece from EW. Speaking with the publication, Landau reinforced that very notion with a story about Ms. Winslet being exceedingly comfortable with her surroundings. As you’ll read below, those “surroundings” were challenging at best, and daunting at their worst:

One of my favorite memories was we had this circular tank, maybe 40 feet wide, with a big glass portal in it. I walked by one day and I see Kate Winslet walking on the bottom of the tank. She's walking towards me and sees me in the window, and she just waves, gets to the end of the wall, turns around, and walks all the way back.

I can't imagine what just being around a-list actors working on their breathing on the huge Avatar 2 set would be like, but Jon Landau does. What he's describing with Kate Winslet is the product of a four-week training regimen. Winslet had to develop underwater skills along with other cast members so they could film underwater as long as they could; without a breathing apparatus. Apparently, according to James Cameron, any sort of scuba gear being worn by the actors would have ruined the motion capture process. Needing to stay underwater for long stretches of time is difficult, but to do so and not get the shot you’re looking to land, I would imagine would be painful for everyone involved.

Stories like Kate Winslet and her ability to stay underwater for around 7 minutes -- yes, you read that right-- minutes at a time are exactly what make productions like Avatar 2 all the more mythic to behold. Throwing in a pair of heavy wings as part of a ceremonial sequence that took place on the bottom of that pool only ups the ante. Ms. Winslet certainly wasn’t phased after a certain point, as those long minutes gave her the confidence she needed. 

With the first sequel already completed, and Avatar 3 mostly filmed on the live-action front, James Cameron and Jon Landau are on their way to finally delivering the long-promised tales of Jake Sully and his future with Netyri on Pandora. Knowing that they’ve been able to train their cast to perform like champs underwater, it must seem like the sky is the limit for what can happen in Avatar 4 and Avatar 5.

Provided no further schedule shakeups are encountered, Avatar 2 should be hitting theaters on its currently planned date of December 16, 2022. There’s some interesting competition on the high seas in that release window, as you’ll see in the full lineup of 2022 movies headed to theaters in the year to come. Make no mistake though, this film does exist, and the countdown is on until the world gets its first look at what the results entail. Meanwhile, you can watch the original Avatar, just in case you need a bit of a refresher, on Disney+.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

CinemaBlend's James Bond (expert). Also versed in Large Scale Aggressors, time travel, and Guillermo del Toro. He fights for The User.