Sigourney Weaver shares details of underwater work for Avatar 2

(Image credit: 20th Century/Disney)

James Cameron’s Avatar franchise is making a big comeback with the eventual release of its four sequels. Unfortunately, all four were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic – but thanks to Sigourney Weaver, we know a bit more about what’s on the way in 2022’s Avatar 2. 

Though (spoiler alert) her character Dr. Grace Augustine actually died in 2009’s Avatar, Weaver is back for the sequels. In an interview with The New York Times, Weaver shared some details about her experiences underwater while working on the sequel. 

To shoot the movie, Weaver trained with a professional so that she could hold her breath for over six minutes (after taking some extra oxygen). She also prepared by laying underwater on the seabed, accompanied by manta rays passing overhead, in Hawaii and Key West. 

Weaver was undeterred by the challenge: “My hope is that what I receive from the universe is even more outrageous than anything I can think of.” She added, “I don’t really say to myself, ‘Well, you can’t do this.’ Or, ‘You can’t do that.’ Let me at it! And we’ll see.”

As well as this training, she also got used to going underwater without squinting or tightly closing her mouth while shooting in a massive water tank. If that doesn’t sound difficult enough, Weaver was weighed down at the waist and was taken up for air by fully trained divers.  

Weaver did admit to finding the shoot a little troubling: “I had some concerns,” she allowed. “But that’s what the training was for. And I really wanted to do it. I didn’t want anyone to think, ‘Oh, she’s old, she can’t do this.’” 

During the filming of Avatar 2, Weaver was 70, and is now 71 – but she clearly isn’t letting this hold her back. Honestly, we expect nothing less from the real woman behind heroines like Ellen Ripley. 

Avatar 2 will arrive December 16 2022, but until then you can check out our list of the 30 best sci-fi movies of all time.

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.