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WIRE Buzz: Kate Winslet’s breathless Avatar 2 stunt; Tim Curry’s Rocky Horror reunion; more

By Benjamin Bullard

If you’re an Avatar fan who’s been holding out for the sequel so long it feels like you’re blue in the face, well…you’ve got nothing on Kate Winslet. Early in the filming of Avatar 2, producer Jon Landau had already teased that the franchise newcomer had learned to hold her breath for an impressive three minutes in order to shoot underwater. But judging from the movie’s latest social media update, it turns out that’s not even the half of it.

Sharing a photo of Winslet taking the plunge for a submerged aquatic stunt, the movie’s official Twitter account touted her amazing ability to cultivate some serious breathing discipline — more than seven minutes’ worth — as reported by The Hollywood Reporter: “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible. My longest breath hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff,” she told the outlet.

Anchored to the bottom of a water tank by weights, Winslet, whose character remains shrouded in mystery, underwent dive training in order to achieve longer splashy spans mo-capping away before having to come up for air. Her marathon breath-holding chops just slightly outpace those of co-star Sigourney Weaver, who told The New York Times last week that she managed six minutes of breath-free submersion for the azure-tinted movie’s aquatic shots.

After all the pent-up waiting for the long-delayed sequel, fans can finally begin to breathe a little easier. Starring Winslet, Weaver, Edie Falco, and returning Avatar actors Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Stephen Lang, and CCH Pounder, Avatar 2 is on track to debut in theaters on Dec. 16, 2022 — with Avatar 3 arriving on Dec. 20, 2024. The fourth and fifth Avatar sequels are expected to appear in 2026 and 2028.

Talk about a time warp. Nearly a half-century after the 1975 debut of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, what would it take to get Tim Curry and more Rocky Horror veterans to reunite for a 2020 Halloween blowout? Politics…and maybe a little campy nostalgia.

THR reports that Curry (aka Dr. Frank-N-Furter) will join original cast members Barry Bostwick and Nell Campbell — plus more famous faces including Jason Alexander, David Arquette, Lance Bass, Connie Britton, Rosario Dawson, Jason George, Seth Green, and Wilmer Valderrama — for what organizers are billing as the Rocky Horror Show Livestream, a Halloween-night fundraiser for the Wisconsin Democratic Party.

The live event reportedly will stay true to the spirit of its original 1970s movie inspiration by keeping things musical, with performances from a long list of artists including Dresden Dolls, Miss Peppermint, Eiza Gonzalez, Josh Gad, Ben Barnes, Jenna Ushkowitz, Rachel Bloom, Karen Olivo, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Madison Uphoff, Kalen Chase, and Rumer Willis.

For Curry fans, it’s a rare chance to see one of the "true kings of genre" emerge from private life for one of only a handful of public appearances since the actor suffered a 2012 stroke.  Set to kick off at 10 p.m. ET on Oct. 31, the live show will be accessible via a stream linked at the Wisconsin Democrats’ social channels, with funds raised going to the state party’s coffers to help push their preferred presidential candidate (Joe Biden) over the Nov. 3 finish line.

Netflix is heading back to the past for its next dive into horror, tapping James Wan’s Atomic Monster production company and The Boys and The Vampire Diaries writer Rebecca Sonnenshine for an eight-part series that revives a long-unsolved mystery from found video footage.

The untitled series, which is “loosely” based on supernatural horror podcast Archive 81, according to Deadline, will follow archivist Dan Turner (played by Jurassic World: Dominion actor Mamoudou Athie) as he restores a collection of old documentary video tapes dating back to 1994. Along the way, he becomes engrossed in the unfinished work of the doc’s original filmmaker (Altered Carbon actor Dina Shihabi), who met with an untimely (but perhaps not irreversible) fate more than two decades earlier.

Archive 81 podcast creators Marc Sollinger and Daniel Powell reportedly will serve as co-producers alongside Atomic Monster, with Stranger Things director Rebecca Thomas executive producing (as well as directing half of the episodes). Also executive producing is Paul Harris Boardman (The Exorcism of Emily Rose), who’ll writing the script as well.

There’s no early word on what the series will be titled, nor on a debut date. In the meantime, you can get an idea of the source material that inspired Netflix to pick up the case by checking out the Archive 81 podcast.