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Sigourney Weaver Trained For A Year With A Navy SEAL Coach For Avatar: The Way Of Water

When news of actor Sigourney Weaver's casting in James Cameron's "Avatar" sequel "The Way of Water" first dropped, fans were perplexed, and understandably so — Weaver's character Dr. Grace Augustine does not, ultimately, survive the events of the first "Avatar" film. It turned out, however, that Weaver's "Way of Water" character defied fan expectations once details of her involvement went public. Rather than reprise the role of Grace, Weaver will portray the Na'vi Kiri, teenage daughter of protagonists Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldana).

Weaver was thrilled to portray a teenager in "Way of Water," which she characterized as a welcome challenge. To prepare for the role, Weaver worked alongside real-life teenagers, spinning her time with them into her approach to her character. While coming up with Kiri's voice in "Way of Water," for example, Weaver visited a performing arts school in New York City in order to observe how some of its students naturally speak.

This wasn't the only preparation Weaver required for her "Way of Water" role, however. The acclaimed actor likewise revealed during a podcast appearance that she spent a year training with a Navy SEAL coach in order to comfortably film underwater.

Learning to hold her breath underwater was an extensive process for Sigourney Weaver

In the lead-up to the "Avatar: The Way of Water" premiere, Sigourney Weaver guested on the December 5 episode of Will Arnett, Jason Bateman, and Sean Hayes' celebrity interview podcast "SmartLess." About 16 minutes and 24 seconds into the episode, Hayes asks Weaver about filming underwater.

"We actually worked with Kirk Krack who teaches the Navy SEALs," Weaver reveals in response. "[Director James Cameron] really wanted us to be comfortable in the water and be able to do scenes underwater. So we studied for a whole year with Kirk." Ultimately, Weaver learned to hold her breath for over six minutes.

Then, at about the 23:56 mark, Bateman asks Weaver whether or not she received pay for the year she trained with Krack. "We were shooting at the same time we were training," Weaver replies, detailing how she alternated training work with active filming. The time she spent working with Krack, them, was seemingly incorporated into the "Way of Water" filming schedule, rather than taking place prior.

"Avatar: The Way of Water" hits theaters worldwide on December 16, at which point viewers can find out for themselves the extent to which the extensive training required of Weaver, and presumably the rest of the cast, paid off.