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