The Avatar: The Way of Water cast on acting opposite "teenage" Sigourney Weaver: "It wasn't hard to see her as our big sister"

Avatar: The Way of Water
(Image credit: Disney)

Avatar: The Way of Water holds many, many surprises. And while we knew before the movie's release that Sigourney Weaver would be playing a teenage Na'vi in the sequel, there's no denying how miraculous her transformation on screen is.

According to her castmates, it wasn't just the blue CGI that fooled everyone. Speaking to Total Film, Jack Chapman and Trinity Bliss – who, like Weaver's character, are members of Jake Sully and Neytiri's family – discuss acting alongside the screen legend and how she dressed as Piglet for a party, as well as their own experience on the set of Avatar: The Way of Water. Here's the Q&A, edited for length and clarity.

When you're acting in that tank or on green screen and you're imagining Pandora in your head, how does that compare to what eventually came on on screen? Are the two anything alike or is this just a whole other world?

Trinity Bliss: We were actually filming in the water. But of course, the lush, Pandora plants and the underwater creatures, they weren't really there. But it was crazy to see it a couple of days ago and see the reef for the first time really. And whatever expectations I went in with, they were totally just overshot. And, it's incredible. Mind-blowing.

You guys filmed this mainly in 2018, I believe.

Jack Chapman: I think it was 2017 to 2018, we did motion capture, through to early 2019.

How was it keeping all this a secret?

Jack Chapman: I feel like, for the past five years, I just haven't been able to tell anyone anything. 

Trinity Bliss: And it still feels that way now. Yeah, it's just you know, like in the vault. It's just one of those things.

Jack Chapman: It just feels in the vault.

Trinity Bliss: In the vault. But now we don't have to keep it in! But there are still a lot of secrets to keep in.

Avatar: The Way of Water

(Image credit: Disney)

You acted alongside Sigourney Weaver in this, where she's playing someone your age. How was that? Were you giving her advice on being a kid, or was she giving you acting advice?

Trinity Bliss: It wasn't hard to see Sig as our big sister, as a 14-year-old, because not only is she an outstanding actor, but Sig is so young at heart, and a kid at heart, and so fun. Like she hosted a Halloween party for us one time.

Jack Chapman: I was dressed as a Ghostbuster.

Trinity Bliss: She was Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. And it was the funnest party ever.

Jack Chapman: It was awesome.

Trinity Bliss: And she's a legend.

This movie's about family, but it also seems like you guys formed a family-like bond behind the scenes too as you filmed multiple sequels over years in New Zealand. Was that the case?

Jack Chapman: We kind of grew up there. I feel like the atmosphere, it all felt like family, it just felt very natural. When you go to work, it was more like our lives at that point. You just wake up, eat breakfast, film, go to school, film, go to school, you wrap. It was just our life. So it felt really natural.

Trinity Bliss: Feeling so fortunate to be part of this amazing Avatar family.

What an experience. What are you most excited people to see about this film?

Jack Chapman: I'm excited for them to just see it all in its entirety. Because there are so many layers. It's like fried chicken. Like the chicken is like the script, the crumb, the breading, is like the acting, and then the deep frying is the CGI, and then boom.

I love that headline: Avatar 2, "It's like fried chicken." I wonder what James Cameron will think.

Jack Chapman: Vegan fried chicken! Definitely vegan!

Avatar: The Way of Water is out now in cinemas. For more, check out our interview with Kate Winslet on her Avatar experience. And if you've seen the sequel, read out Avatar: The Way of Water ending explained feature.

Jack Shepherd
Freelance Journalist

Jack Shepherd is the former Senior Entertainment Editor of GamesRadar. Jack used to work at The Independent as a general culture writer before specializing in TV and film for the likes of GR+, Total Film, SFX, and others. You can now find Jack working as a freelance journalist and editor.