This is how 'Avatar' star Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for 7-minutes

This is how 'Avatar' star Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for 7-minutes

Kate Winslet broke a record previously held by Tom Cruise in 'Avatar: The Way Of The Water'. 

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'Avatar: The Way of Water' trailer/ YouTube (Official Avatar)

James Cameron's 'Avatar' sequel hit cinemas this month and moviegoers have been raving nonstop about the visual masterpiece. 

While critics expected nothing but perfection from the award-winning director, moviegoers were shocked to learn that Kate Winslet held her breath underwater for seven-minute and 15 seconds while shooting one scene.

Winslet, who previously worked with Cameron on 'Titanic', plays Ronal in 'Avatar: The Way Of The Water'. Her character is a Metkayina free diver. 

"Playing those things underwater is really hard. When you have to yell and open your mouth and the water goes rushing in, you absolutely know that you cannot swallow that water because that is going to be a huge problem when you are 20-feet down," she told Extra TV

Winslet broke a record previously set by Tom Cruise. The 60-year-old actor held his breath for six minutes while shooting scenes for his 2015 blockbuster, 'Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation'. 

"Poor Tom," Winslet said in an interview with USA Today

"I mean, I don't know Tom at all – I've never met him in my life – but I'm sure he's getting very fed up of hearing this story of how I broke his record. I loved it, though. ... I was amazed how good I was at it and how I just kept getting better," the 47-year-old added. 

ALSO READ: Watch the first full official trailer for ‘Avatar: The Way Of Water’

So, how exactly did Winslet hold her breath underwater for so long? 

According to Healthline, the average person can hold their breath "somewhere between 30 seconds and up to 2 minutes".  Holding your breath for longer than three minutes can result in you being knocked unconscious. 

But expert free divers can hold their breath for much longer as they train their lungs using various exercises and techniques. Free diving instructor Chris Denison, who worked on 'Avatar 2', explained how Kate and other cast members were able to film underwater. 

"Free diving is very cool because it's a sport that literally centres around breath. And a lot of that focus is mental. And it's pushing through periods of discomfort, doing it in a safe environment...

"Your body... will give you an urge to breathe when you're running low on oxygen. But what we train [people on] is really how to push through that in a safe manner. And after you do that enough times, you kind of reset your switch," he told Nil Köksal on CBC Radio's 'As It Happens'.

Denison, who held his breath for more than 15 minutes on the 'Avatar' set, says the process is "very meditative". 

"We have an instructor who on some deep dives has clocked his heart rate at about 14 beats per minute. So we're doing things that elicit a physical process in the body that's very unnatural. But at the same time, everybody kind of contains this in their DNA. It's called a mammalian dive reflex. So whales have it, dogs have it and humans have it. It's just kind of like cracking into a part of our code we don't really use."

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"Avatar 2' stars original cast members, Sam WorthingtonZoe Saldaña and Sigourney Weaver. Stephen Lang and Cliff Curtis also feature. 

Weaver, who plays Kiri, was able to hold her breath for six minutes and 30 seconds. She was trained by Kirk Krack, who has also worked with Navy SEALs. 

Saldaña also did pretty well. “I’m very competitive, but we had an Oscar-winning actress in our cast that did seven minutes. “I got almost up to five minutes. That’s a big accomplishment, you guys,” she told The New York Times

Movie execs are believed to have had a budget of between $350–460 million for the 'Avatar' sequel. The movie is on track to make more than double that amount. 

'Avatar: The Way Of The Water' has already passed $500 million at the box office. 

The first 'Avatar' movie, which was released in 2009, is the highest-grossing film of all time. Its worldwide gross is $2,922 billion. 

Cameron's 'Titanic' film is in third place behind 'Avengers: Endgame'. 

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Main image credit: YouTube/ Avatar Official (movie trailer)

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