James Cameron discusses underwater filming with Kate Winslet on Avatar 2 and why Jack had to die in Titanic.

With the plethora of Terminator news stories we’ve brought you recently and production finally underway on the Avatar sequel(s), not to mention the 20th anniversary of Titanic approaching, James Cameron is a very busy man after years of seemingly stalling his projects due to his excessive pre-production and underwater exploration ventures.

The director recently spoke with Vanity Fair about his return to Pandora and his admiration for the commitment that his Titanic leading lady Kate Winslet has shown for her role in the upcoming sci-fi sequel. Cameron explained that she plays a character called Ronal, a sea-dwelling alien. The director seems thrilled to be reunited with the actress and explained how when she accepted the role, she insisted on on doing all her own stunt work in the underwater scenes;

“The one thing she did do is demand that she do all her own water work. I said, ‘All right, that’s fine, we’ll have to teach you how to free dive.’ The other actors are up to three and four minute breath holds. We’ve already been doing underwater capture. We did a scene last week with six teenagers, well actually five teenagers and one 7-year-old underwater holding their breath for a couple minutes and acting, actually doing a dialogue scene under water because they speak kind of a sign language.”

Of course it’s not the first time she’s had to get herself into a water tank for Cameron and whilst this role may not lead to any controversial scenes of floating on doors, the director was only too happy to clear up why he felt it was important that Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Jack had to die in the water during the climax of his 11 Oscar winning film,

“Had he lived, the ending of the film would have been meaningless. The film is about death and separation; he had to die. The answer is very simple because it says on page 147 [of the script] that Jack dies. Very simple. Obviously it was an artistic choice, the thing was just big enough to hold her, and not big enough to hold him. I think it’s all kind of silly really that we’re having this discussion 20 years later. But it does show that the film was effective in making Jack so endearing to the audience that it hurts them to see him die.”

Cameron is filming both Avatar 2 and 3 back-to-back consecutively. He’ll then quickly return to complete another two films with a total budget said to exceed a billion dollars. There’s no word on how big Winslet’s role will be or whether she is scheduled to return in any of the other sequels, but it does seem a safe bet to assume that her role will be a substantial one.

Avatar 2 has a release date currently set for December 18th 2020.