James Wan made a name for himself in the horror genre, directing films like Saw, Insidious (opens in new tab), and The Conjuring (opens in new tab). The upcoming Aquaman (opens in new tab) is a chance for him to flex new creative muscles, but he's still keeping some of the lessons learned from those early days full of ghosts and gore.
"Let’s face it, [Aquaman is] the superhero that everyone makes fun of," Wan tells our sister publication Total Film (opens in new tab) magazine. "There was a bit of reservation at the start about whether or not I should pursue this character. But the more I thought about it, I always love being the underdog. Coming from the horror genre, you’re always the underdog. So I got used to that mentality."
It's not just a horror director mentality that Wan brings to the set, though. Intimidating beasts with lots of teeth and other gnarly creatures will also be making an appearance. Reflecting on his pitch to Warner Bros., Wan reminisces: "I said, 'I can have monsters in there. Are you guys OK if I have monsters in there?' They said, 'Have monsters!'"
Even with a horror background and so-called "monsters," don't expect the dreadful gloominess of Wan's early work (or the DCEU up to this point for that matter) to be the focus for Aquaman. Instead, Wan cites directors such as George Lucas, Stephen Spielberg, and James Cameron as the creators he admired growing up and aspires to be like.
"I love [horror]. It’s definitely the best way to break into the industry. I just became somewhat synonymous with it, so that people had a harder time seeing me for anything else outside of horror," Wan says. "I just wanted to prove that I’m not just a horror filmmaker, I’m a filmmaker, period."