Mabel Cadena, who will appear in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, has revealed that she came close to breaking Kate Winslet’s underwater record during her training for the film’s underwater scenes. Both Black Panther 2 and Avatar: The Way of Water featured underwater scenes and required actors to hold their breath for long periods of time while filming. To prepare for these scenes, the filmmakers had them train with professionals.
During an exclusive interview with Screen Rant, Cadena discussed her underwater immersion training for the MCU movie. She shared how quickly she was able to pick it up, saying:
My first immersion was around 30 seconds, and the same day I [was able to do] six minutes and thirty-five seconds. The training was amazing, because in the same day I can have a big difference [from] my first immersion to my second immersion. I’m very competitive, so Chris, my coach, told me, ‘Kate Winslet has the record, so if you want to be the winner, you need to learn a lot of things.’ I really was over Kate Winslet [at one point], but now I don’t have time for a better record.”
Both the movies explored water-based civilizations, with Marvel’s Talokan and the Metkayina people in Pandora. While the filmmaking processes were different, it made sense that both James Cameron and Ryan Coogler would want their actors to train for underwater stunts. The civilizations themselves were vastly different, with Talokan being much more insular. However, the underwater scenes, especially the fighting, made the training integral to the process. Winslet famously broke Tom Cruise’s record by holding her breath for 7 minutes and 14 seconds.
And while Cadena doesn’t have an exact number, it is an impressive feat to come so close to the new record so soon after it was set. Cameron’s underwater production was more similar to his motion capture style because of the immense CGI required to bring the Na’vi and Pandora to life. Black Panther: Wakanda Forever also features extensive visual effects, but the Talokani looks essentially human while underwater. The immersive worlds created by these filmmakers and the work put in by the actors to bring the characters and world to life are impressive.
Training to hold one’s breath underwater for extended periods of time while swimming or fighting in order to capture the shot without being obscured by bubbles is an incredibly difficult skill. Although Avatar 2 is famous for its underwater training, it seems Black Panther 2 is just as impressive, not only with its training but also with the actors who learned this skill, like Cadena. It is clear that underwater scenes require different skills and techniques from actors, as holding one’s breath for an extended period of time is a physically demanding feat. Both films’ directors, Cameron and Coogler, recognized the importance of the actors’ training and put them through rigorous exercises to prepare them for their roles.
The actors’ dedication to their craft is apparent in their willingness to learn and perfect these skills, making the films more immersive and realistic. Moreover, the use of extensive visual effects to bring the underwater worlds to life is also a testament to the filmmakers’ creativity and technical skills. The use of CGI to create underwater scenes requires a high level of skill and precision to make the shots look as realistic as possible. The resulting visuals are breathtaking and help to transport audiences into these fantastical worlds. In conclusion, the preparation and dedication that actors put into their roles in both movies are really impressive and incredible.
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