Mary Poppins Star Julie Andrews Has A Secret Role In Aquaman

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The Mary Poppins of our hearts, Julie Andrews, has just been confirmed to appear in Aquaman as a gigantic nightmare sea monster (that’s a sentence that I wasn’t expecting to have to write tonight). The news comes courtesy of EW, who report that the Oscar-winning actress is set to voice the Karathen, who I think is the crab-like lava creature-thing you can glimpse in the most recent trailer.

A bit of digging online indicates that the Karathen seems to be a creature concocted solely for the movie rather than taken from Aquaman lore, with EW describing it as holding the key to Arthur Curry’s goal of uniting the undersea and surface worlds. A little more poking around uncovered this description of the creature from Reilly Lohr, one of the VFX artists who worked on the movie:

“At ILM I was part of the team painting the gargantuan Karathen. This creature was quite the undertaking. His scale and complexity as a character made him a very complicated asset to paint. I was part of a three painter team. I painted all his legs/claws, body(not including back plates), his mouth including teeth and tongue) and his eyes. The Karathen also posed a couple other interesting challenges. His scale made painting him a bit like painting an environment, we added algae and dirt in all the little cracks. Scale of texture was also very important – we needed to be sure that when you get close, everything holds up and feels the appropriate size for such a giant. Lastly his body is made up of plates, leather and scales. All of which need to be designed and painted in an individual way to feel realistic for their material type but also need to tie into one another. Lastly we painted damage to give him a tatted and aged look. Lots of scratches and even some old healed scars were added for some personality.”

It’s interesting that Lohr refers to the Karathen as ‘him’ throughout, presumably not being privy to the fact that one of the most iconic women in cinema history will be providing the vocal work for the creature.

Meanwhile, Aquaman producer Peter Safren explained to EW why they chose Andrews for the role, saying:

“We wanted the Karathen to have the voice of a classic British actress, albeit somewhat digitally altered, and when we found out Julie was interested and available and excited to do it, casting her was a no-brainer.”

Andrews is in semi-retirement at the moment (which is understandable, given that she’s 83), but while she’s not appearing in person anymore, she’s done a string of performances for animated films over the years, voicing Queen Lillian in the Shrek movies and Marlena in the Despicable Me films. Still, a gigantic clawed and leathery sea monster is a little bit of a departure for her – but I’m sure she’ll bring some real gravitas to the role.

While I’m currently on the fence about Aquaman actually being a bonafide hit for DC, I can’t deny that it’s got a fabulous cast, and adding Julie Andrews to it is an interesting and unexpected choice. It also means that December box office competitor Mary Poppins Returns now shares an unexpected link with it. Who would’ve thought?

Source: EW

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