How ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ Turned Sigourney Weaver Into a Teenager
There were quite a few naysayers on Film Twitter prior to the release of Avatar: The Way of Water, questioning everything from the film’s cultural staying power and $400 million-plus budget to the 13-year gap in between films. They forgot the cardinal rule: never bet against James Cameron.
The Avatar mega-sequel, with its high frame rate and lush visuals, grossed an extraordinary $2.3 billion at the global box office while also collecting four Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture, winning gold for Best Visual Effects. And now, those who missed out on the fun in theaters — or simply wish to indulge in the enthralling visual journey again (and again) — can purchase the film digitally on March 28. The digital release includes three hours of bonus features that show viewers how Cameron and co. pulled off the seemingly impossible.
One of the visual effects team’s biggest hurdles was how to transform 73-year-old Sigourney Weaver into Kiri, the adopted teenage daughter of Jake Sully (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri. Kiri was birthed from the avatar of Dr. Grace Augustine, Weaver’s character in the first film who died after helping the Na’vi against the colonizing Resources Development Administration (RDA), a greedy company that mines Pandora for its natural resources.
“We were constantly testing against older footage of Sigourney,” says one of the film’s visual effects supervisors. “Jim was really precious about trying to get the same feeling and the same youthfulness that Sigourney evoked onscreen for Aliens.”
In this exclusive behind-the-scenes clip featured in Avatar: The Way of Water’s digital release, see how Cameron’s effects team turned Sigourney Weaver into a teenage Na’vi:
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