Director James Wan hasn’t started shooting the first big-screen adventure of “Aquaman” just yet, but he’s already got a sense of the pros and cons involved in bringing the heroic King of Atlantis to life.
While speaking with CBR News about his current film, the horror sequel “The Conjuring 2,” our discussion wandered a bit into Aquaman territory, with Wan more than willing to share his thoughts on the comic book source material that inspired him. We also discussed the creative opportunity he sees in the character, the challenges of shooting on the high seas, and that oft-debated topic of tone in a DC Films project.
What can you tell me about the various Aquaman source material that’s gotten you excited about trying to figure out, “How can I do this element, that element?” Are there things you’ve seen in the comics that you’re particularly excited to visualize?
James Wan: Yeah, definitely. I’m a big fan of what Geoff Johns did with his new take on “Aquaman,” with the New 52. I think for the first time, we get to see Aquaman as a superhero that definitely isn’t the butt of superhero jokes, right? I think that there’s something very exciting about that.
I actually do think there’s something kind of fun, as well, to take a character where people don’t quite know what to expect from him, or rather the expectation of him is quite low. I always say, it’s very difficult when you’re tackling something like “Spider-Man” or “Batman” that has been done so many times before. Whereas, it’s actually really refreshing to take on something like “Aquaman,” that no one has really seen before in this context, and make it your own.
I wanted to ask about the tone, because there’s been a lot of recent debate about tone in superhero movies. Has that factored into your approach, or did you already kind of know the tone you hoped to take with everything?
I already know the tone for the film that I want to make. I’ll just put it at that.
In Hollywood, they say don’t work with children and animals, but they really say don’t work on the ocean.
[Laughs] Good point. “Aquaman” is now going to take place in outer space, on a space station.
How prepared are you for the physical challenges of shooting on the water?
I will answer that with this little anecdote from “Conjuring 2.” We have a sequence in the movie where the set is flooded, it’s waterlogged, and there’s a lot of rain in this movie. Every time I’m out in the rain, and I’m in this sunken, flooded set, the only thing that’s going through my brain is, “Fuck, I have to put up with this for an entire movie. This is going to suck.” I’ll leave it at that — how’s that?
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