Why James Wan Chose Aquaman

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Aquaman has been a smashing success in every market that it has opened to this point. The biggest market has yet to open, but that all ends Friday, when the film makes its debut (not counting the early screening for Amazon Prime members, or DC Universe subscribers). James Wan gets all the credit for this film, and if it flops, well take all the ribbing as well.

In a new interview with the New York Times, the director commented on why he chose to take on the film and character of Aquaman. He started off with a comment about the future of the DCEU.

“I don’t know what the bigger picture is,” the director responded. “But I think it’s really cool to take chances with the lesser-known characters and story lines. It’s good if all the other films have their own flavor, so they don’t force them to feel the same.”

He was then asked about the possibility of him taking over the lead role of overseer of the DCEU and responded with, “It’s taken me so long just to finish this movie. [Laughs] I don’t want to think about somebody else’s movie at this point. I just want to survive this one.”

Wan definitely kept in the back of his mind, the negative reaction for the current state of the DCEU, but didn’t let that affect his goal of creating Aquaman. 

“I was definitely aware of that. The irony is, I picked “Aquaman” because I thought, here’s a superhero I can make that is fully under the radar. No one’s going to [care] about this film. I can just do whatever I want. Make it easy with no pressure. Fast-forward to three years later and now there’s a massive spotlight on it. So, to answer your question, obviously there was a sense of pressure. But I try not to let any of that cloud my vision for the film. I just plow ahead and continue to make the movie I wanted to make.”

He ultimately took on the film, because Warner Bros. allowed him creative freedom in regards to making it.

I realized, wow, his character resides in this crazy, big world, and I could do something very interesting with it. I look up to people like Spielberg, Cameron, Lucas, John Carpenter. I’m a fan of genre filmmaking, naturally. So I thought I could make “Aquaman” a genre film, meaning a horror monster movie. DC basically said, yes, you can make Aquaman versus sea monsters if that’s what you want.

“For as big a movie as “Aquaman” is, I could not have had more freedom. I had all the big tools and the budget to paint on a really big canvas, but with the freedom I had on, let’s say, ‘Saw’ or ‘Insidious.'” he said. “So if the movie works, or doesn’t work, I have no one to blame but myself.”

So far, Wan’s efforts have paid off in a big way. As of this writing, Aquaman is expected to have amassed an astounding $250 million overseas. This coming weekend will tell the tale of Aquaman’s success.

About Aquaman:

From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime—one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be…a king.

The film also stars Amber Heard (“Justice League,” “Magic Mike XXL”) as Mera, a fierce warrior and Aquaman’s ally throughout his journey; Oscar nominee Willem Dafoe (“Platoon,” “Spider-Man 2”) as Vulko, council to the Atlantean throne; Patrick Wilson (“The Conjuring” films, “Watchmen”) as Orm/Ocean Master, the present King of Atlantis; Dolph Lundgren (“The Expendables” films) as Nereus, King of the Atlantean tribe Xebel; Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Netflix’s “The Get Down”) as the vengeful Black Manta; and Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (“The Hours,” “Lion”) as Arthur’s mom, Atlanna; as well as Ludi Lin (“Power Rangers”) as Captain Murk, Atlantean Commando; and Temuera Morrison (“Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones,” “Green Lantern”) as Arthur’s dad, Tom Curry.

Wan directs from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (“The Conjuring 2”) and Will Beall (“Gangster Squad,” TV’s “Training Day”), story by Geoff Johns & James Wan and Will Beall, based on characters from DC, Aquaman created by Paul Norris and Mort Weisinger. The film is produced by Peter Safran and Rob Cowan, with Deborah Snyder, Zack Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns and Walter Hamada serving as executive producers.

Wan’s team behind the scenes includes such frequent collaborators as Oscar-nominated director of photography Don Burgess (“The Conjuring 2,” “Forrest Gump”), his five-time editor Kirk Morri (“The Conjuring” films, “Furious 7,” the “Insidious” films), and production designer Bill Brzeski (“Furious 7”). They are joined by costume designer Kym Barrett (“The Matrix” trilogy, “The Amazing Spider-Man”) and composer Rupert Gregson-Williams (“Wonder Woman”).

Warner Bros. Pictures Presents a Safran Company Production, a James Wan Film, “Aquaman.” The film is set to hit theaters beginning December 21, 2018, in 3D and 2D and IMAX, and will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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