Kate Winslet Can Hold Her Breath For Over 7 Minutes
Kate Winslet was able to hold her breath while filming Avatar 2 for 7 minutes and 14 seconds.
Kate Winslet stars in James Cameron’s ambitious new Avatar: The Way of Water, and she ended up having to master water along the way. At one point, the prestigious director had Winslet and some of the other actors practice holding their breath underwater to help with shooting scenes. Impressively, Cameron told Deadline that Winslet was able to hold her breath for a whopping seven minutes and 14 seconds!
How was she able to master such a feat? According to Cameron, her body went into a state of static apnea. During this time, she doesn’t exert much physical activity and instead sits very still, face down, in the water. By doing this, Kate Winslet was able to slow down her heart and enter a special trance-like state that made holding her breath easier.
Apparently, Kate Winslet and James Cameron have very different memories of the time she held her breath that long. Cameron, for example, brags that she was specially trained on how to hold her breath this way and that actors love these kinds of “boot camp” experiences because they get to learn new things and master new skills. As for Winslet, she vividly recalls thinking that she was dead when she came up for air, though she was quite excited to hear how long she managed to hold her breath.
And while it’s not exactly a competition, Kate Winslet can apparently hold her breath for longer than many other Hollywood heavyweights. For example, fellow Avatar star Sigourney Weaver can only hold her breath for six minutes. That’s the same length of time that Tom Cruise was able to hold his breath to record underwater scenes for Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation.
Now, none of the Avatar actors had to hold their breaths quite that long for most of the filming. Instead, the logic behind making Kate Winslet and other stars master holding their breath is that it builds endurance. Someone who can hold their breath for six minutes during static apnea can probably hold their breath for no more than three minutes while actively swimming and moving in the water. Without the special training, the actors would never have been able to hold their breath for very long while shooting underwater scenes.
While it’s usually actors that get the special “boot camp” training, Cameron also had his camera operators learn to hold their breath for a very long time as well. Originally, they had SCUBA gear on, but the air bubbles from the gear got in the way of the markers on the actors that helped Cameron later add CGI. By ditching the gear, the crew was able to get better shots of Kate Winslet and other actors while they were underwater.
This kind of versatility showcases why Kate Winslet wished to work with James Cameron again so many years after Titanic. While Cameron enjoys a well-deserved reputation for pushing technology to its limits, he also knows how to adapt, and he isn’t afraid to try low-tech solutions like training everyone to hold their breath. Of course, given the rave reviews and killer box office for Avatar: The Way of Water, Cameron certainly doesn’t have to hold his own breath over whether his latest film will be a success or not.