Un­der the sea

Direc­tor James Wan plunges the ocean depths for his Aquaman adap­ta­tion…

SFX - - Red Alert -

With films like The Con­jur­ing, In­sid­i­ous and the orig­i­nal Saw to his credit, James Wan has be­come syn­ony­mous with 21st-cen­tury hor­ror. And he’s gone on record as say­ing he’ll bring his affin­ity for mon­sters and scares to his su­per­hero de­but, 2018’s Aquaman. But when we catch up with the direc­tor at this year’s Tele­vi­sion Crit­ics As­so­ci­a­tion sum­mer press tour in LA (where he pro­moted his MacGyver re­boot), he as­sures us that any such frights won’t over­whelm the film’s sense of fun.

“Here’s the thing that peo­ple are get­ting con­fused,” he tells Red Alert. “Just be­cause you have scary sto­ries or mon­sters, that doesn’t mean it’s tonally dark. Look at Guillermo del Toro – he makes mon­sters all the time, but his stuff is fun and cool. Tim Bur­ton does it as well. So it’s how you go about do­ing it. I al­ways say, ‘Look at my movies.’ I’ve made a lot of scary movies, but they’re fun scary movies. So take that from my past work and ex­tract from it the di­rec­tion [you] think I may go with Aquaman.”

Wan says he first en­coun­tered DC’s Arthur Curry – who, as played by Ja­son Mo­moa, will ap­pear in next year’s Jus­tice League be­fore get­ting his solo-film spot­light – as a small child grow­ing up in Aus­tralia.

“Ob­vi­ously I’m fa­mil­iar with this char­ac­ter from a very young age. Prob­a­bly from the car­toon, the re­ally old-school car­toon,” Wan says. “Then of course the comic books. I’m a fan of the comic-book world as well. I have to say it re­ally is [comic writer] Ge­off Johns’ ver­sion that got me ex­cited about what Aquaman could po­ten­tially be.”

Re­gard­ing the cur­rent sta­tus of the sea king’s maiden big-screen voyage, Wan ex­plains, “Ob­vi­ously I’m in de­vel­op­ment right now. And I’m very su­per­sti­tious. I don’t care whether or not I have a green light or not. I don’t be­lieve that I’m do­ing it un­til I’m ac­tu­ally on set mak­ing it. There is a timetable of some sort. But I’ve made it pretty clear that if I were to get in­volved in this, I’d need the cor­rect amount of time to do this right. That’s all I’ll say.”

While Warner Bros’s DCU movies have re­ceived crit­i­cism for be­ing too grim, when asked if the mega-fran­chise’s mixed re­cep­tion weighs in his head, Wan replies, “I just try to fo­cus on mine.” He adds, “I fo­cus on the pos­i­tive. I fo­cus on what I think I can cre­ate – the best char­ac­ter, the best story, and the best movie. I try not to look at the cli­mate. I try to un­der­stand what’s hap­pen­ing around me, but at the end of the day I have to be the one to make those creative moves. And I try not to take things for granted.”

Aquaman opens in cin­e­mas in 2018.

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