Bailey Bass on Adopting Kate Winslet’s Protective Nature on Set

Jan 3, 2023

The moon of Pandora has welcomed a number of new faces since 2009’s Avatar. In the years between the first film and James Cameron’s highly-anticipated sequel, Avatar: The Way of Water, Jake (Sam Worthington) and Neytiri (Zoe Saldaña) adopted Sigourney Weaver’s Kiri and had three children of their own including Neteyam playing by Jamie Flatters (The School for Good and Evil).

In The Way of Water, the “sky people” return to Pandora after over a decade of peace. This time around, they don’t just want Pandora’s resources. They want to colonize the entire moon. When Jake specifically is targeted as a hurdle in achieving that goal, his family is forced to seek refuge in the reef village of the Metkayina clan. That’s where Flatters’ Neteyam, Jake and Neytiri’s eldest son, meets Bailey Bass’ character, Tsireya, the daughter of the Metkayina leaders, Ronal (Kate Winslet) and Tonowari (Cliff Curtis). Whereas some of the locals take to bullying the Sullys, Tsireya accepts her assignment to teach Neteyam and the other Sully children the Metkayina ways with patience and grace.
Before The Way of Water’s theatrical release on December 16th, Collider’s own Perri Nemiroff was able to sit down with Flatters and Bass to talk about their experience working on the film. With so much time having passed since filming began, Bass reflects on playing Tsireya and how much she’s grown as an actress. Bass also discusses what she learned from her on-screen mom, Kate Winslet, while Flatters recalls a special moment he shared with Cliff Curtis in Hawaii. You can hear about that and more in the video interview at the top of this article, or you can read the full transcript below.

PERRI NEMIROFF: I’ll start with a high/low question for you. Can you each give me a high from filming The Way of Water, a day that went really well and felt really good? But then also, can you give me a low or a super challenging day, and tell me how you overcame that challenge?

BAILEY BASS: It was all so good. [Laughs] So it’s hard to think of just a high and just a low because I feel like you also have so many ups and downs and I think, as an actor, my acting coach always says, “Never say it like, weaknesses, because it’s a craft and it’s always evolving.” And I think watching me play Tsireya, seeing it now that I’m 19 and I was 13, 14, 15, doing that role, I’m like, “Wow, I think I’m such a better actor now,” but in reality, I wouldn’t change anything that I did as Tsireya. So when you’re asking high or low, I know I’m just supposed to answer it straight on, [but] it’s hard for me to choose a high or low because I think acting is such an evolving craft.

Image via 20th Century Studios

That’s a beautiful way to look at it.

BASS: Thank you.

Now dare I ask for a high/low?

FLATTERS: High, being half-naked on a mountain with Cliff Kurtis in Hawaii.

BASS: Because if you knew this story!

FLATTERS: Low, my first-ever day having to film a scene on set because, to me, it didn’t really go very well, but amazing stuff.

BASS: I think it ended up being phenomenal though.

FLATTERS: We then got better. We then got better.

BASS: But when it ended up in the movie, is what I’m saying.

FLATTERS: My first day filming, there’s a massive door in between the two stages and literally we have like 30 cameramen sometimes, and all 30 cameramen were coming to the stage to film my first ever scene, like a Top Gun slow-mo. That’s why it was bad.

Wait, now I want the story about Cliff Curtis.

BASS: Oh, in Hawaii? [Laughs] I’m sorry.

FLATTERS: We did a training holiday. Not holiday. We were working

BASS: So we went training in Hawaii while filming. Because I’m Metkayina, I didn’t do forest training. I just did water stuff and that’s it. Jamie did some water stuff because the Sullys come to the Metkayina clan and then, he was in the forest with Cliff Curtis.

FLATTERS: So me and Cliff aren’t really doing anything. [James Cameron’s] doing something with the other actors.

BASS: And Cliff plays Tonowari, Tsireya’s dad.

FLATTERS: And Jim just sort of goes, “Oh, Cliff, teach Jamie the Haka,” and Cliff goes, “Okay, we should do this with a view,” and we both go on a journey.

Image via 20th Century Studios

Bailey, I know you were really excited when you found out Kate Winslet was going to be your mom. Now having gone through the experience of working with her, what’s something about her as a scene partner that you really appreciated and now maybe even want to do for another scene partner of yours in the future?

BASS: Kate’s very protective when there’s kids on set, and then when there’s also women on set, and I understand why. And I think just innately being around such strong women on set, even with Zoe [Saldaña] and Sig [Weaver] — I do that to Trinity [Bliss] all the time now. I’m so protective. Even Jack [Champion]. I feel like anyone who’s younger than me, I want to make sure that they feel safe and that all the nerves should wash away, and I want them to feel protected. So that’s something that she did that I adopted, and I hope that anyone that I do that to, they also feel that comfort.

Avatar: The Way of Water hits theaters on December 16th. For more on the making of the movie, check out Perri’s interview with Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldaña below:

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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