Given the chance to direct a superhero movie as part of a major comic book universe is a huge opportunity for any filmmaker. For James Wan, horror auteur supreme, his role in DC's Extended Universe came with a rather surprising twist: he was given the choice between whichever superheroes he liked. "They asked me which of the two characters I’d be interested in," he tells Uproxx, "and it was between The Flash and Aquaman."
As it turns out, he selected DC's underwater king Aquaman who made his debut in Batman V Superman earlier this year. Why he opted for a lesser-known figure all boils down to popularity. Between The CW's The Flash series, and the TV show from the early '90s, Wan felt there was less wiggle room for his creative input.
"But the thing that ultimately pushed me more towards Aquaman is I love the possibility of creating a whole new world," he adds. "I’ve always wanted to do a world creation story and visually create this amazing, incredible, magical kingdom. And also, I love the fact that Aquaman is an underdog character. I love the fact that people like to make fun of him. [Laughs.] I feel the bar is a lot lower and I can have fun with him!"
"Everyone makes fun of him! And I actually don’t mind that! What it allows me to do: I think people are a lot less precious with him than, let’s say, you were doing a Spider-Man or a Batman or whatever. I felt like it allows me the freedom to just tell the story of the character I wanted to tell."
Wan's enthusiasm for the character is front and center whenever he discusses the movie, especially when he teased fans about a "different, cool, badass" version of Aquaman. Jason Momoa's Dawn of Justice cameo definitely embraced all three of those attributes.
And while it would have been fun to see how he tackled the Scarlet Speedster, given a clean slate to craft the story, world and character he wants, Wan's Aquaman sounds like it could be Warner Bros' first superhero movie that won't be a dark, brooding affair.
Directed by James Wan and starring Jason Momoa and Amber Heard, Aquaman is scheduled for release in the US on July 27, 2018 with a UK release date as yet unconfirmed.
Images: Warner Bros./DC