“Avatar: The Way of Water” Press Conference Highlights

Hi everyone!

I was invited to the virtual press conference for “Avatar: The Way of Water”, which releases on theaters December 16th, 2022. The participants included director James Cameron; producer Jon Landau; and actors Kate Winslet (Ronal), Sigourney Weaver (Kiri), Zoe Saldana (Neytiri) and Sam Worthington (Jake).

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios

Host Edith Bowman began the press conference by asking Cameron what the moment was when he knew he would make a sequel. Cameron answered, “Well that’s an interesting question, because it seems obvious to everyone, ‘oh, you just made a bunch of money, do a sequel,’ right?” Cameron continued that Steven Spielberg hasn’t made a sequel to “E.T.”, so “it’s not a no-brainer”. Being able to bring the cast back was a huge incentive for him.

Cameron talked about the direction of the new film. “I think it’s important for a sequel to honor what the audience loved about the experience the first time. But also to get them off-balance…do things that they don’t expect.” He said that they went much deeper as far as emotions, with the stories and characters being simpler during the first film. He wanted to “get into family dynamics”, with Saldana and Worthington being parents now in real life (and Cameron a father of five). Cameron directed a question to Saldana, “You learn fear when you have kids, when you have something greater than yourself that you could lose. And that’s what both of your characters are dealing with, right?” Saldana affirmed that.

Photo courtesy of 20th Century Studios. © 2022 20th Century Studios

Winslet talked about holding her breath underwater for a record-breaking seven minutes and fifteen seconds, breaking Tom Cruise’s on-set record. “I actually have a video of when I surfaced from that breath hold and the only reason I have it is because my husband snuck in.” She had actually asked her husband (Edward Abel Smith) not to come and videotape, because she didn’t want to feel pressure. He did anyway without her knowledge, with the video showing her surfacing and saying “Am I dead, am I dead, have I died?” And then right away, she wanted to know her time.

Zaldana was asked what it was like to return as Neytiri. “Terrifying” was her answer.  “… Neytiri and I, in a way, we’ve lived parallel lives. There’s a level of fearlessness and rebellion that I have…as I guess as a person, that Neytiri had as herself. And I…we were able to sort of find kindred in that.”

Worthington was asked about his new journey into love and fatherhood. “I think he’s opened his eyes to love, and the love of culture, the love of the planet and the love of Neytiri”. He continued,  “…They have a family, and it’s…to be honest it’s about the protection of that love and that world and that culture, that’s… I always saw it as the simplest form…and his partner in crime is a very fiery person. He just tries to be the earth, and we just happen to have a lot of water. It’s very elemental.”