With directing credits on Saw, Insidious and Furious 7, which endured a taxing spell in production two years ago due to Paul Walker’s untimely death, James Wan is no stranger to working within Hollywood’s breathless blockbuster genre.
But his latest gig, Aquaman, is far and away the biggest challenge of his career thus far. Still lensing Down Under in anticipation of its December 2018 release, the Arthur Curry solo movie is quietly coming together under the looming shadow of Justice League (November 17th), and when The Hollywood Reporter caught up with James Wan to discuss his instrumental role in New Line’s ever-evolving Conjuring universe, the prolific filmmaker and producer turned in a status report on Aquaman.
While shooting a film that’s largely set beneath the waves – all the way down to the fictional city of Atlantis – is a challenge in and of itself, Wan was quick to stress that he’s utilizing practical effects wherever possible.
It’s a very technically challenging shoot to be on. Working with water, and even the dry-for-wet sequences are very complex…Our equivalent of two people sitting around chatting in the underwater world is super complicated. You have to think about CG with the hair, and how their clothing moves, how are they floating, what kind of rig we put them on and all that stuff.
News that the Aquaman solo movie is keeping CGI to a minimum will no doubt please ardent DC fans, as it’ll bring a sense of gravitas and presence to James Wan’s spinoff that VFX simply can’t recreate – no matter how talented the visual effects artists happen to be.
That just makes it very difficult and time-sucking and time-challenging to do all of this. So it’s not an easy shoot — but hopefully it will pay off in spades down the line.
With the exception of Justice League and Wonder Woman 2, James Wan’s Aquaman spinoff is currently the only other DC tentpole in possession of a release date (December 21st, 2018). That’ll likely change very soon, though, what with rumors suggesting David Sandberg’s Shazam will be next in line to enter production ahead of its own release in 2019.