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'Avatar: The Way of Water': Sigourney Weaver may have also broken Tom Cruise’s breath-holding record

Remember when Kate Winslet beat Tom Cruise's breath-holding record? Well, apparently she wasn't the only one.

By James Grebey
Avatar: The Way of Water (2022)

Kate Winslet isn’t the only member of the Avatar sequel’s cast who has mastered The Way of Water. While there were headlines in November of 2020 that the Titanic actress had smashed Tom Cruise’s record for the longest underwater breath hold in a feature film while shooting The Way of Water, she might not have been the only Na’vi to best the Mission: Impossible star. At a press conference ahead of the film’s Dec. 16 release attended by SYFY WIRE, the cast revealed that Sigourney Weaver may have beaten Cruise’s record as well. 

“People keep going on about smashing Tom Cruise’s record,” said Winslet, who held her breath for 7 minutes and 14 seconds during The Way of Water shoot, beating Cruise’s 6-minute Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation record. Turning to Weaver, she continued. “But, how do we know you haven’t smashed Tom Cruise’s record as well? Because you were like 6:30.”

“I’ve been a free diver for 50 years and you smoked past me,” said director James Cameron. “But Sig was very close.”

“It wasn’t a competition,” said Weaver.

“Apparently it was,” Cameron replied with a laugh.

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At another point in the press conference, Cameron reflected on his initial hesitancy to even make a sequel to Avatar, which was once the highest-grossing movie of all time. 

“Steven Spielberg didn’t do a sequel to E.T.,” Cameron said. “Do you want to call down lightning to strike in the same place twice?”

Ultimately, he said it was largely his love for the cast that brought him back to Pandora. That might explain why two actors whose characters died in the first movie — Weaver (who played Dr. Grace Augustine in the first film) and Stephen Lang (who played Colonel Quaritch) have been resurrected, in a way, in the new film. Weaver plays Jake and Neytiri’s daughter Kiri, while Lang plays an Avatar embedded with the memories of his human life. 

“He’s coming back as the very thing he has been trying to destroy and having to make the adjustment to that,” Lang said of his character.

Despite the familiar faces (albeit it now-blue faces), Cameron teased that The Way of Water will take audiences to new places. 

“I think it’s important for a sequel to honor what an audience loved the first time, but also get them off balance,” he said. “There are a lot of surprises in this film that we’re not putting in the trailers or the TV spots.”

Avatar: The Way of Water opens in theaters on Dec. 16. 

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