Kate Winslet Wondered If She’d Died on ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’ After Holding Her Breath for 7 Minutes

Kate Winslet thought she literally spent seven minutes in heaven after holding her breath underwater for a record-breaking amount of time.

The “Avatar: The Way of Water” star revealed that she assumed she was “dead” after coming up for air at the seven-minute, 15-second mark. Winslet broke the record previously held by Tom Cruise.

“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 (via Games Radar). “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 to know right away.”

Director James Cameron quipped, “She’s not competitive at all.”

“Titantic” alum Winslet continued, “Well, I didn’t have to hold my breath for over seven minutes. 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.”

“Avatar” visionary Cameron was determined to limit the “dry for wet” ocean scenes and have the water sequences for the sequel be as authentic as possible. The entire cast for “Avatar: The Way of Water” was instructed in professional scuba diving, and Cameron developed new technology in order to film motion capture scenes underwater, something never previously achieved.

But to film actors underwater, there was nothing better than the real thing.

“I said, ‘It’s not going to work. It’s not going to look real,’” Cameron recalled. “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.”

Cameron previously told The New York Times, saying, “Kate’s a demon for prep, so she latched onto the free diving as something that she could build her character around. Kate’s character is someone who grew up underwater as an ocean-adapted Na’vi — they’re so physically different from the forest Na’vi, that we’d almost classify them as a subspecies. So she had to be utterly calm underwater, and it turned out that she was a natural.”