Avatar 2: Bailey Bass on filming the sequel, learning to snorkel and the advice Zoe Saldana gave her on set

Pool noodles! Now that’s funny. Obviously, in this movie, you starred alongside Kate Winslet. Have you had any advice from your older, more experienced colleagues on how to navigate your acting career in the future? Since you’re still so young at 19, and I’m sure you have a long career ahead of you.

Zoe Saldana shared with me the power of “no”. Being a woman in this industry is very different from a man’s experience, and sometimes our “no” isn’t taken as seriously. So to get this guidance and support from Zoe, who has accomplished so much in her career and done so much for women and women of color, is wonderful. And honestly Kate, Zoe, Sam [Worthington]Sigourney [Weaver], they all killed. And in those moments between scenes, we didn’t feel like we were admiring them – we were all equal.

Have you ever been starstruck?

I definitely had my moments! I screamed when I saw Zoe on set because I didn’t know she was going to be there, then I saw her walk in and I screamed and hid because I couldn’t stand it . Then I saw her later and she gave me the biggest hug. Same with Kate – I was speechless, and she just gave me a hug and said she was so excited to be on set. They just come with such professionalism and such excitement to create that it calms everyone’s nerves because we know we’re equal here. We just create art.

Did you have any social events with the cast and crew during filming? What were the highlights?

Honestly, most of the time I just lay down after shooting. But I remember the laser tag – we went to Hurrcane Harbor Six Flags in Los Angeles [a theme park venue] a bunch of times, which was awesome. And we rode a roller coaster there. Also, one of the best bonding experiences was when we all went to, we did a photo shoot at Pandora at Disney World [an Avatar-themed area in Disney World, Florida] and we got to watch the sunrise together and then spend the day riding the Flight of Passage [a 3D flying simulator attraction within Disney World’s Pandora].

Finally, family is a theme central to the Avatar franchise. You mentioned your family earlier, would you say you also have strong family values?

Oh, 100%. My mother accompanies me everywhere. She is my number one support system. I literally wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her, because she got me into modeling when I was two, which launched my career. I’m from Brooklyn, New York, but I’m also Belarusian through my grandparents and we’re a brutally honest culture. They don’t sugarcoat anything – they will always tell me the truth, and that drives me to be better, stronger and prepared for anything. It’s a big part of who I am today. My family means the world to me. This is my first press tour and I can’t wait to have them by my side for all my premieres and just to see their smiles, because I wouldn’t be here without their support.

Avatar 2: The Shape of Water hits UK cinemas from December 16.

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