Kate Winslet Thought She ‘Died’ After Holding Breath For Over 7 Minutes During ‘Avatar’ Filming

Actress Kate Winslet said she thought she “died” while successfully breaking the Hollywood record for holding her breath, clocking in at more than 7 minutes underwater.

The 47-year-old star accomplished the feat while filming the new James Cameron film, “Avatar: The Way of Water.” Her time of seven minutes and fifteen seconds beat Tom Cruise’s best time of six minutes, which he achieved on the set of “Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation” in 2011.

“I have the video of me surfacing saying, ‘Am I dead, have I died?’ And then going, ‘What was [my time]?’” Winslet told Total Film magazine during a recent interview.

After confirming she was still alive, the actress quickly focused on whether she’d bested Cruise’s record.

“Straight away I wanted to know my time. And I couldn’t believe it … The next thing I say is, ‘We need to radio set.’ I wanted Jim [Cameron] to know right away,” she continued.

“She’s not competitive at all,” the director quipped. 

She went on to describe that while Cameron never insisted she had to hold her breath that long, Winslet took it on as a personal challenge. 

“Well, I didn’t have to hold my breath for over seven minutes,” the “Titanic” star explained. “It’s just that the opportunity to set a record presented itself. I wanted to break my own record, which was already six minutes and 14 seconds. And I was like, ‘Come on!’ So I smashed my own record by a minute.”

Cameron had already expressed his intention to limit “dry for wet” scenes in the new “Avatar” so the high-stakes film could feel more authentic. He told Entertainment Weekly in 2021 that faking underwater scenes didn’t look real, which necessitated the actors going under during filming. 

“I said, ‘It’s not going to work. It’s not going to look real,’” Cameron said. “I even let them run a test, where we captured dry for wet, and then we captured in water, a crude level of our in-water capture. And it wasn’t even close.”

Despite the incredible challenge of holding her breath for so long, Winslet insisted that wasn’t the most challenging thing about joining the “Avatar” cast.

“The biggest challenge was something people really wouldn’t imagine  – it was fitting into this world and yet appearing to have always been there,” the actress said. She went on to say it was a “fantastic experience.” 

“Avatar: The Way of Water” hits theaters on December 16.

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