In 1997, Kate Winslet teamed up with filmmaker James Cameron for Titanic. Yet, despite the stratospheric success of that project, the two did not collaborate again for more than two decades. Now, Winslet is teaming up with Cameron again for Avatar 2. In an interview with Collider, the actress admitted that their time together on the sets of Titanic had been difficult, but the equation had since changed considerably for the better.
"Well, look, we're all older. We all got older. I look back on the experience of making Titanic and it's no secret that it was a very difficult shoot. It was very, very stressful and things were tough for all involved...And the Jim Cameron on Avatar, he is calmer. I will say that he's just much more stepped into his true self, I think. That's because of experience. That's also because he's done Avatar before, so he knows this world and he knows these characters. He's invented that way of filming. There's a level of confidence that has grounded him in a much more comfortable place, just for him."
James Cameron has long been known in the industry as a notorious perfectionist, who was more than willing to put his actors into all kinds of uncomfortable situations to get the perfect shot. Ed Harris almost came to blows with the filmmaker on the sets of The Abyss over a scene where the actor came close to drowning, while Cameron continued to film.
So it is not surprising at all that the shoot for Titanic was stressful for Cameron as well as his actors and crew. Ironically, the shoot for Avatar 2 looks to be even more difficult, since large parts of the movie take place underwater, which, in typical James Cameron fashion, the filmmaker elected to actually shoot underwater with special equipment and actors who had to undergo extensive training in underwater diving.
Still, despite the added complications, Kate Winslet did not fear for her life on set, because according to her, Cameron has today evolved into the type of filmmaker who puts the safety of his cast and crew above everything else.
"[Jim] was brilliantly collaborative on Avatar, honestly. I was awe struck by how much time he allows for the actors to often just meander over a scene, if it doesn't feel like it fit quite right. And obviously safety had to come first. Listen, if there's a proper world collapse and we really are all set on fire and there's another global [emergency] any minute now, I can tell you with my hand on my heart, one of the people I would want to be with in that bunker is Jim Cameron. He's very much safety first. I felt really good working with him. I'm so excited for Avatar. I didn't realize there had been a picture of me underwater. That's funny."
Written and directed by James Cameron, Avatar 2 stars Sam Worthington, Zoe Saldana, Sigourney Weaver, Stephen Lang, Giovanni Ribisi, Joel David Moore, Edie Falco, Kate Winslet, Oona Chaplin, Vin Diesel, Michelle Yeoh, and David Thewlis. The film arrives in theaters on December 16, 2022. Collider was the first to bring this news to our attention.