In 2020, Kate Winslet famously broke Tom Cruise’s unofficial record for holding one’s breath underwater while filming ― but it wasn’t easy.
Clocking in at 7 minutes, 14 seconds of holding her breath while filming “Avatar: The Way of Water,” Winslet easily surpassed Cruise’s previous record of 6 and a half minutes, which he reached while filming “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation.”
“It certainly wouldn’t have been possible for me to hold my breath for that long at depth, so there were surface static breath holds that we were doing to improve your skills,” Winslet told “Entertainment Tonight” in a piece published Friday. “It’s a physical shift and it’s something that you have to learn how to do.”
“I would just, like, hang there in the water,” Winslet told the outlet. “[I’d] count the slats. I’d go over it again. I’d make lists in my mind. But you have to be careful not to make, like, too many comprehensive complicated lists ’cause that also takes brain power.”
The highly anticipated “Avatar” sequel will bring viewers back to Pandora, the alien planet colonized by humans in the original 2009 film. The trailer promises extensive water-based scenes, as the Na’vi from the first “Avatar” encounter an aquatic tribe ― of which Winslet’s character is a member.
Winslet has long been familiar with both director James Cameron and filming underwater, as the pair worked together on “Titanic” (1997) to record-breaking Oscar wins. She joined the “Avatar” sequel as a free diver named Ronal, however, which required certain skills.
While “a lot of training” was physically required to hold her breath, the British actor told “ET” that “it’s also a mindset in terms of quieting your mind, slowing everything down” that allowed her to accomplish that feat.
Sigourney Weaver, who returns in the sequel as a different character than she played in the first movie, managed to tie Cruise’s prior record. She told “ET” that it was “a huge surprise” and “an acquired talent,” one that co-star Zoe Saldaña also practiced.
Cameron, meanwhile, had other concerns.
“First of all, we didn’t cast anybody in this movie because they could hold their breath. We cast them because they were the right people to play the character,” the director told “ET.” “What I’m most proud of is how the actors’ performances came through so resoundingly in characters that are CG.”
“The Way of Water” is projected to domestically gross at least $150 million when it opens next weekend, per Deadline. In an unexpected move, China announced it would release the film the same day it opens in the U.S. — suggesting a gargantuan worldwide box office is in the making.