Because we are nothing if not committed to the cause of keeping up to date on the latest news involving actors being underwater, we recently reported on the first look at Kate Winslet filming Avatar 2 in a giant water tank, which was more or less what you’d expect, assuming you were expecting a picture of Kate Winslet holding her breath while gesturing dramatically as a similarly underwater cameraman filmed her. But amid all the excitement of looking at someone we’re used to seeing breathing air and standing on land not doing either of those things, it somehow slipped by us to acknowledge something else: Kate Winslet was now officially more badass than Tom Cruise.
We’re referring, of course, to the standard yardstick by which all badassery is judged—the ability to hold one’s breath for long stretches of time. Tom Cruise garnered headlines after the filming of Mission: Impossible—Rogue Nation, when it came out that the actor had trained to be able to successfully hold his breath for a full six minutes during the shooting of that movie’s underwater action sequence. (It is an extremely cool scene.) But as Winslet reported during an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, her work on Avatar 2—for which the cast and crew trained with world champion free-diver Kirk Krach to prepare—led to her taking Cruise’s achievement and watering it down significantly. “I had to learn how to free-dive to play that role in Avatar, and that was just incredible,” Winslet said. “My longest breath-hold was seven minutes and 14 seconds, like crazy, crazy stuff.”
Not to belabor the obvious, but that’s a full minute longer than Cruise managed for Rogue Nation. She may as well just kick Cruise’s apple box out from under him and take his lunch money, possibly while using his own hand to pummel his ribcage and saying to him, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.” So now that this feat has been officially recognized by the International Association Of Badasses, Winslet is finally acknowledging how extremely awesome her achievement is—which is to say, she’s admitting that, yes, it’s jolly good fun, now, isn’t it. (This is our rough translation of her words into British.) As she tells EW, she didn’t even realize it was now public record:
“It’s so funny because I don’t really read reviews or media things. I’m not on Instagram, like I’m just completely disconnected from that part of my life,” she explained. “So all of this week and the week before, I’ve had people coming up to me at work saying, ‘Oh my God, like seven minutes and 14 seconds? Like, what?!” And I’m going, ‘What? Hang on, wait a minute. How do you know that?’”
Winslet is apparently not planning to continue the practice of minutes-long free dives going forward, however. “It was brilliant and I was very proud of myself and I’ll probably never be able to do it again,” the actor said, possibly as she dunked Cruise’s head in and out of a locker-room toilet. “That came at the end of four weeks’ worth of quite intense training and it was in the dive tank, it was in the training tank. But I loved it.” Tom Cruise has yet to respond, probably because Winslet has demanded silence, and the beta must respect the wishes of the alpha.