Sigourney Weaver said playing a teenager in the second installment of Avatar is the “sure way” she can go back to her teenage years.
The 73-year-old Alien actress also told the PA News Agency at the highly anticipated world premiere of Avatar: The Way Of Water – at the Odeon Luxe in Leicester Square, London, that the cast were “at each other’s throats ” like a real family during the shoot.
Weaver plays the teenage adopted daughter of Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana’s characters Jake Scully and Neytiri, who play the Na’vi people who live on the planet of Pandora which is overrun by humans.
In the original Avatar, released in 2009, Weaver played research scientist Dr Grace Augustine but she did not reprise that role and Worthington was human before becoming a Na’vi.
When asked by PA about having to recreate being a teenager again, Weaver said, “I remember being 14, 15 … so I often wanted to disappear (and) I remember what a swing it was.
“You’re on top of the world and then you feel like everything is unfair and just a lot of opposite things happening at different times — and Kiri is very similar so it was fascinating.
“It was a sure way (to) go back to my teenage years.”
Weaver said the film, directed by James Cameron, has “family” as a central theme over the setting as it is more “universal and relatable”.
He added: “It was a joy to be a part of that family, sometimes we were at each other’s throats, Jim (Cameron) wanted that… for us to be able to get closer to each other, still have fun and it’s really a real family.”
Saldana also told PA, “(The story) felt like a natural progression for someone like Jake and Neytiri.
“That’s the natural course that they decided to take is to start a family and keep it together, to protect that family.”
The actors meet their marine relatives and therefore had to learn how to free dive and hold their breath under water for several minutes in real life for filming.
Saldana was also asked about the difficulty of holding her breath for those long periods of time.
The 44-year-old Guardians of the Galaxy actress said, “That was the stake that was (there) for us artists, to prepare and train to once again embody a character.
“It was quite daunting at first, but once we got training with world-class freedivers, it was exhilarating.”
Bailey Bass, who plays one of the new Na’vi characters, said she loved “standing” in the water, holding her breath, and called it one of her favorite moments from the shoot.
The 19-year-old, who recently starred on Interview With The Vampire, added: ‘To hold your breath for an extended period of time you need to be in a meditative state.
“So as much as people think it’s a challenge, and it’s scary, because you have to be calm, hold your breath, I was comfortable.”
Titanic actress Kate Winslet also joins the cast — where she’s reunited with Cameron since her starring role on Titanic — along with fellow newcomers Jack Champion and Edie Falco.
Bass also said she “freaked out” when she found out she was playing Winslet’s daughter, a freediver from another Na’vi clan, Metkayin.
She added: “I’m just like, oh, wow. I mean, she’s a legend, and to be able to be with her in a scene… seems like a once in a lifetime opportunity but who knows?
“It can always happen again. You never know.”
Stephen Lang, who plays Colonel Miles Quaritch, and Joel David Moore as Dr. Norm Spellman also return for the sequel.
Avatar: The Way Of Water hits theaters on December 16th.