James Cameron’s first Avatar was essentially an advertisement for the thrilling visual possibilities of modern special effects, with some human actors playing alien cat people and other human actors playing human people who had put the brains in alien cat people bodies. There were big robots, people rode dragons by intertwining their ponytails together or something, and it all took place on a lush natural paradise covered in fantastical flora. Even with all of that in mind, though, this photo of Kate Winslet on the set of Avatar 2—before the CG work has been implemented—is a lot.
That’s Kate Winslet, a performer who is one successful Broadway show short of an EGOT, standing on a mat under water with some kind of majestic cape-wing flowing behind her. The tweet also mentions that she once had to hold her breath for over seven minutes while filming Avatar, because all of this underwater stuff apparently had to be filmed with her actually underwater (and, as we learned previously, she’s playing a “water person”). That’s despite the fact that, like the first Avatar, this one’s going to be stuffed with CG. Winslet’s not going to look like this in the movie, and you’re not going to be able to see the mat she’s standing on or the hose people standing off to the site, so why not just make the whole thing a cartoon and put CG Kate Winslet in CG water with CG hose guys monitoring her CG hoses?
The answer, of course, is simple: That’s not how Avatar does it. You want cartoon people on cartoon sets? Watch a Star Wars prequel. You want real award-winning actors holding their breath for seven minutes so they can become a cartoon, all while remembering the thrill of listening to your parents fight? Watch Avatar 2, apparently.