Avatar’s Sigourney Weaver Reveals Why James Cameron Cast Her As A 14-Year-Old In The Way Of Water

After over a decade, Avatar: The Way of Water is finally hitting theaters at the end of this year. The primary cast that includes Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña are all returning to Pandora to continue the story that became a global phenomenon. To much of the surprise of fans, Sigourney Weaver is also returning for the sequel, despite her character dying in the first film. But James Cameron clearly had a different vision for Weaver’s future within the franchise. The acclaimed director cast Weaver as the 14-year-old daughter of Worthington’s Jake Scully and Saldaña’s Neytiri. This seemed like an odd choice, considering Weaver is 73, but as per usual, there is a method to Cameron’s madness. 

In an interview with the New York Times, the cast of Avatar 2 sat down to talk about the much anticipated sequel film, and how the follow up films will seek to reach the heights that the original did. When Weaver was asked about her new role in the sequel films, she revealed that she feels that the casting may not be as strange as people think.

I remember when Jim finally made the decision, he said, ‘You can do this because you’re so immature. Nobody knows this but me, but I know that you’re just 14 at heart.’ And I think Jim is about 16, so he’s not off by much! But it was incredibly exciting to set loose your inner 14-year-old and to refine it, because being 14 is not all fun. I think we all remember how excruciating it can sometimes be and how unjust things seem in the moment. If you’re playing someone as sensitive as a 14-year-old girl who’s been uprooted, that’s a whole world of adventure you get to have as this character.

This is such an interesting way to keep Weaver involved in the franchise, as she was a highlight of 2009’s Avatar, and always elevates every project she is a part of. The Avatar films are made using motion capture technology, so Weaver’s performance will be more based on emotion, movement, and delivery of dialogue, rather than having to look the part. So this means that Weaver just will have to act and behave like a 14 year old Na’vi rather than looking like one. As long as the Ghostbusters actress’ childlike spirit shines through, she will for sure be great in the role. 

One would be silly to doubt James Cameron’s vision, as he is yet to disappoint. Flooding a soundstage to shoot the Titanic may have seemed crazy to some, but that movie’s visuals were exquisite. Titanic ended up becoming a global sensation and was the highest grossing movie of all time. Cameron topped his own record with Avatar, which was a completely original concept. Avatar had no built in fan base that many blockbuster successes had, yet billions of people went to the theater to see Cameron’s blue aliens fly through the sky. At this point, underestimating any filmmaking decision by the Terminator director feels ill-advised. 

While many plot details from Avatar: The Way of Water are still under wraps, some information is slowly trickling out as we get closer to the release date. Cameron has stated that this film will be family oriented, and Stephen Lang is set to return as a primary villain, even though he also met his demise in Avatar. In addition the film is said to center around a water-based Na’vi tribe, so there will be many oceanic visuals to look forward to. 

Avatar: The Way of Water will premiere in theaters on December 16th. Its predecessor, Avatar, was temporarily removed from streaming platforms for a limited theatrical run, but is set to return for Disney+ subscribers to stream ahead of Avatar 2’s release. In the meantime, Starz subscribers can currently stream Aliens, another joint cinematic venture from James Cameron and Sigourney Weaver. For more information on films hitting theaters and streaming later this year, check out our 2022 movie schedule. 

Caroline Young

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