For British actress Kate Winslet, Avatar: The Way of Water represents a reunion that is fully worthy of the hype and publicity it has garnered, even if she was absent from the series’ cinema-defining debut in 2009.
It all dates back to the last Cameron/Winslet collaboration on the groundbreaking Titanic, which serendipitously celebrated its 25th anniversary in December 2022, just as Avatar returned.
Despite launching Winslet into the stratosphere, the 21-year-old was characteristically vocal at the time over her struggles with Cameron’s directing methods and the gruelling film conditions. She famously labelled Cameron “a really tough nut to crack,” adding that “there were times I was genuinely frightened of him.”
The near quarter-century between the films has done much to settle the tides between the two cinematic titans. Winslet not only agreed to star in another of Cameron’s movies, but in doing so went a step further, essentially signing up for a project that perhaps surpasses even the magnitude of Titanic in terms of its lengthy production schedule, boundary-pushing CGI, and budget that was rumoured to exceed US$250 million.
“I know that I am a different person now, and Jim certainly is,” she tells MiNDFOOD. “Time is a great healer of division, but it also has the ability to bring about empathy and respect.
“Sometimes, looking back, it’s easy to see why people are the way they are, even if, at the time, you just can’t fathom them. In essence, you just haven’t had the life experience that can put you in their shoes.”
Winslet extends the insight, noting in so many words that the pair have essentially swapped perspectives. She is now the demanding one; he the one slightly more relaxed and assured… although perhaps only slightly.