Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Avatar goddess Kate Winslet tells Stephen Colbert about going back underwater for James Cameron

Stephen Colbert, Kate Winslet
Stephen Colbert, Kate Winslet
Screenshot: The Late Show

Introducing his Wednesday Late Show guest, Stephen Colbert noted that Kate Winslet is just one letter shy of an EGOT. Winslet herself brushed off the whole thing, naturally, noting that her Grammy was for a spoken word performance, and they hand those out to just anybody. (Colbert agreed, pointing to the fact that he’s got one.) Regardless, Winslet’s illustrious career has made her essentially offer-only by this point, which makes her upcoming, two-film stint re-teaming with Titanic director James Cameron a bit surprising. You know, considering that the star of the upcoming period-paleontologist biopic Ammonite (about pioneering 19th century fossil-finder Mary Anning) famously said that working with Cameron on her career-making 1998 Titanic role was an exercise in shouting, bullying, and occasional near-drowning. (Not to mention mysteriously PCP-poisoned bisque.)

Winslet was once quoted as saying she’d only ever work for the infamously demanding Cameron again “for a lot of money,” so the on-set stories she brought from her as-yet hazy role in Cameron’s next two, questionably anticipated Avatar sequels suggest that the acclaimed actress can now afford to make all the low-budgeted indie fare about obscure, patriarchally oppressed scientists she wants going forward. Especially since Winslet’s role as what she described as a “water goddess” required her to once more put her life in the hands of undersea obsessive Cameron. Responding to a behind-the-scenes picture of her (sporting what are no doubt going to be impressively CGI water goddess wings) acting out some sort of “birthing ceremony” the bottom of one of Cameron’s go-to underwater filming tanks, Winslet explained that she’d had to take it on faith that her director wouldn’t nearly murder her like he did Ed Harris that time.

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Ever the committed thespian, Winslet told the incredulous Colbert that, to achieve the necessary underwater performance of James Cameron’s dreams, she has to take some truly extraordinary breathing lessons. And while nobody’s saying that Method professional Winslet couldn’t just learn to breathe water if she really wanted to (she did spend her Ammonite downtime sequestered in an appropriately rattly and windblown oceanfront cottage) Winslet told Colbert that her ability to take in “peak inhalation” (thanks to a free-diving expert in such things) allowed her to set a personal airless acting record of more than seven goddamned minutes. “That’s David Blaine-level stuff,” goggled Colbert, but Winslet just shrugged, no doubt thinking of however much cash Cameron had to pony up to lure her back into the water.

Contributor, The A.V. Club. Danny Peary's Cult Movies books are mostly to blame.