Avatar 2 Star Explains Why The Underwater Work Was The ‘Hardest’ Thing He’s Ever Had To Do

Sam Worthington in Avatar: The Way of Water
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

James Cameron is a filmmaker whose name is synonymous with striking visuals and cutting edge technology. Case in point: the Avatar franchise, with the 2009 original movie breaking records and debuting stunning motion capture innovation. Anticipation is high for the sequel The Way of Water, which required the cast to do extensive filming underwater. And Avatar star Sam Worthington recently explained why that was the “hardest” thing he’s ever had to do.

Sam Worthington plays protagonist Jake Sully in the Avatar franchise, with his character becoming a full-fledged Na’vi by the end of James Cameron’s first blockbuster. The Way of Water and its sequels presumably required way more motion capture, as well as filming at the bottom of a pool with folks like Kate Winslet. In a recent interview with Empire Magazine (via Deeperblue), Worthington explained just how difficult it was to do all that filming submerged in water. As he put it,

It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. You’re dealing with the restrictions of freediving, the constraints of motion capture underwater, and you’re trying to keep an emotional journey going while you’re innately struggling with the fear of dying.

He’s got a point. While trying to emote as a character is difficult enough, it can be hard to control one’s facial expressions when worrying about the possibility of drowning. As such, it sounds like Sam Worthington had his share of obstacles while filming his highly anticipated role in Avatar 2. We’ll just have to see how those struggles (and the extensive visual effects) ultimately play out when the blockbuster sequel hits theaters. 

Sam Worthington’s comments to Empire come from the magazine’s exclusive story about Avatar: The Way of Water. James Cameron’s return to Pandora has been a long time coming, with fans already waiting over a decade for the story to continue. Luckily anticipation was buoyed thanks to theme park attractions such as Avatar Flight of Passage.

While Sam Worthington had a hard time filming underwater for Avatar 2, he likely had to get used to it. After all, it seems like a ton of focus has been put on the free diving Na’vi community known as The Metkayina; water is literally in the movie’s title. Kate Winslet broke a world record while filming her upcoming role as Ronal, so she presumably had an easier time filming the sequels while also reuniting with Titanic’s James Cameron. You can see the first teaser for The Way of Water below,

Information about Avatar 2’s plot is largely under wraps, but more tidbits and images have been shared as we get closer to its release. The movie will feature a time jump, and follow Sully and Neytiri’s new family. We’ll also see the return of the villainous RDA, and see as Na’vi clans unite to protect the planet of Pandora. 

Avatar: The Way of Water will finally hit theaters on December 16th. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.