Why Sigourney Weaver Was So Insecure Making Avatar 2
Sigourney Weaver says waqs insecure about playing a 14 year old in Avatar 2, and got little feedback from James Cameron.
In an astonishing turn of events, Sigourney Weaver is one of the main stars in Avatar 2: The Way of Water, despite her character being killed off in the first film. It seems that the director of the Avatar series, James Cameron, wasn’t finished working with his long-time collaborator, so he recast Weaver in the unlikely role of Kiri, the adopted 14-year-old daughter of series’ protagonists Jake Sully and Neytiri. As a 73-year-old woman, it is no surprise that Weaver was insecure playing a part 59 years her junior, as The Direct reports.
Though Sigourney Weaver agreed to take on the role of Kiri, the actress was not without her doubts. To help her prepare for the role, Weaver went back to high school and observed classes so she could watch the mannerisms of teenagers and mimic the pitch of their voices. Despite being one of the greatest actresses of all time and having had 12 years to prepare for the role, Weaver admitted that she was still insecure about her part once she got on set.
“I was in agony about Kiri most of the time. I had no idea what was actually coming across. I couldn’t keep track of it. I didn’t want to be thinking about that, and Jim never said anything. One day I blurted out some whiny complaint about not getting any feedback, and Jim just turned and said in a serious voice, ‘You have to stop being insecure. It’s really inappropriate for who you are, how old you are, and what you’ve done in your career.’ So, that shut me up. I heard him loud and clear.”-Sigourney Weaver
The director told the actress that it was “inappropriate” for her to feel so doubtful of her abilities after everything she has done in her career.
Despite Kiri being so different than any character Sigourney Weaver has ever played, Cameron’s tough love comment was what the actress needed in order to complete the role. From a different perspective, however, Zoe Saldana, who plays Kiri’s adopted mother and one of the lead protagonists, Neytiri, said that every day on set with Weaver was a “master class” in acting and the Guardians of the Galaxy actress loved watching Weaver “play and explore” with the role. Saldana said that even when the cameras weren’t rolling, she often felt like the mother of a teenage daughter because of Weaver’s way of method acting.
Sigourney Weaver first reached international recognition with her breakout role in Ridley Scott’s Alien (1979). Seven years later, Weaver did her first project with James Cameron in the film’s sequel, Aliens, in 1986, for which she won her first Academy nomination. Working with Cameron would go on to become a lifelong filmmaking collaboration with the Avatar director always pushing Weaver to leave her comfort zone, especially after he cast her as Kiri in Avatar 2.
When describing how Cameron approached Sigourney Weaver with the role, the Gorillas in the Mist actress said that Cameron knew she could play a 14-year-old girl because she herself was already so immature. Weaver claims that in addition to being a creative collaborator, Cameron is also a good friend, and he teases the actress a lot. Clapping back at the director, Weaver admitted that if she was 14 years old in maturity, then Cameron was only 16.