Avatar’s Sigourney Weaver Reveals Why Her New Role In The Sequel Made Filming So Challenging

Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Grace Augustine in Avatar
(Image credit: 20th Century Studios)

The long-awaited sequel to the 2009 box office darling Avatar is finally set to release in December. Very little information about the new film has been disclosed, but much of the original cast is set to return including Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldaña, and of course the legendary actress Sigourney Weaver. The film is famous for its highly stylized use of CGI, but according to Weaver, it was more than graphics that made her role so challenging this time around. 

In speaking to Interview Magazine, the Alien star revealed her character is taking some creative turns in Avatar: The Way of Water, as she's playing a child Na'vi in the sequel. And she is grateful for the opportunity to pursue such a part. She also credits director James Cameron for his openness, saying:

So Avatar I can't really talk about, but I would say that it's the biggest stretch I get to play in every possible way. I think if Jim Cameron didn't know me really well, he wouldn't have cast me as something as goofy as this. I had to work in a completely different way to play this character, a very physical way.

Weaver’s character certainly is “goofy” as she puts it. It was recently revealed that Weaver’s character in Avatar 2 is completely different from her character in the original film. She will be playing Kiri, the adopted Na’vi teenage daughter of Sam Worthington’s "Jake" and Zoe Saldaña’s Neytiri. How this may relate to Weaver’s previous character in the original film is still undetermined. 

To say Cameron and Weaver know each other well would be an understatement. The duo have been working together since 1986, when Cameron directed the sequel to Ridley Scott’s space opera, Alien, titled Aliens. She collaborated again with Cameron in Avatar, and is signed on for the subsequent films in the franchise. In addition, she lent her voice to the Disney+ nature documentary Secrets of the Whales which was executive produced by Cameron. 

Avatar currently holds the record for the highest grossing film of all time, so the sequel has some big shoes to fill. Many have questioned why the film took over 10 years to produce a sequel, and have blamed Cameron’s standards for technology. Avatar 2 was a difficult film to shoot. Sam Worthington revealed difficulties came from the limitations of motion capture technology when met with extensive filming in water (something Cameron seems to frequently insist on doing). In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to a series of delays, impacting almost every film in Hollywood. 

While Weaver waited for technology to catch up with James Cameron’s vision, she was very busy. The actress recently returned to another old stomping ground, reprising her role as Dana Barrett in 2021’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife. She is also involved in the Galaxy Quest sequel reportedly in development. Fans are holding their breath to see if she would possibly make a cameo as Ellen Ripley in the new Alien film for Hulu, but nothing about her involvement has been reported. 

Clearly there is plenty of mystery when it comes to Avatar and subsequent sequels in development, but we will have to wait until December 16, 2022 when Avatar: The Way of Water is released in theaters. For other information regarding films releasing in theaters later this year, check out our 2022 movie release schedule.

Caroline Young

Writer, podcaster, CinemaBlend contributor, film and television nerd, enthusiastic person. Hoping to bring undying passion for storytelling to CinemaBlend.