Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Sigourney Weaver Opens Up About Playing A Teenager In Avatar: The Way Of Water

Following Sigourney Weaver's Oscar-nominated turn as the fearless xenomorph slayer Lt. Ellen Ripley in his 1986 sci-fi classic "Aliens," writer-director James Cameron clearly knew that Weaver was the only choice to play the compassionate yet tough, no-nonsense scientist Dr. Grace Augustine in his 2009 blockbuster "Avatar."

Sadly, though, Grace perished in the third act of "Avatar," as attempts to revive her at the foot of Pandora's life force — the mystical tree known as Eywa — seemingly failed, dashing the hopes of Weaver appearing in Cameron's long-anticipated sequel "Avatar: The Way of the Water." Of course, Cameron then took film fans by surprise by casting his go-to badass in the sequel, but not in the way anyone expected. Instead of another Ripley-slash-Grace-like character, Weaver is playing Kiri, the 14-year-old adopted daughter of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Ney'tiri (Zoe Saldana). 

In an interview with Empire, Weaver explained that Kiri is the reincarnation of Grace, and she was happy to return to the "Avatar" universe to play her. That meant the venerable actor would need to get back in touch with her 14-year-old self, but Cameron didn't seem to think that was a problem. "He was very funny," Weaver told Empire. "He said, 'You're so immature, this will be so easy for you.'"

Cameron's immaturity joke aside, the iconic actor still was tasked with not only remembering what it was like to be 14 years old again but acting like it as a member of the Na'vi on the filmmaker's fictional planet — both above and below the surface of Pandora.

Weaver recalled drama school exercises to become Kiri for The Way of the Water

In her interview with Empire, Sigourney Weaver recalled how she went back to the basics when the interviewer asked the three-time Oscar nominee if her high school drama classes had anything to do with the way she approached playing her teenage character.

"... I think the way I started with Kiri was just standing, feeling my body bit by bit, as if I was 14. Just trying to get that feeling back in my body and always coming from there whenever I had a scene," Weaver told Empire. "So, it took some kind of rerouting of the way I work. But I had done this exercise in drama school where if you say your character has blue eyes, you wait until you feel as if you are looking through blue eyes. Every time you described something, you would add that on to your physical being and you weren't expected to do anything or show anything. You just felt it and it kind of blossomed inside you."

As such, Weaver added, she found the exercise was very essential in helping her play 14-year-old Kiri as a then-72-year-old. She said that it wasn't enough for her to play an adolescent; she wanted to actually become one for the film, and to specifically transform into her on-screen character of Kiri. 

Also starring Cameron's "Titanic" star Kate Winslet, "Avatar: The Way of the Water" opens in theaters on December 16.