Director James Wan On Why He Chose AQUAMAN And Potentially Steering The Future Of The DCEU

Director James Wan On Why He Chose AQUAMAN And Potentially Steering The Future Of The DCEU

Director James Wan On Why He Chose AQUAMAN And Potentially Steering The Future Of The DCEU

Coming off positive reviews and a commercial success overseas, Aquaman director James Wan talks about his future within the DC Extended Universe and why he ultimately chose to helm this film.

With James Wan's Aquaman off to a roaring start overseas, the latest entry in Warner Bros.' DC cinematic universe is shaping up to be another commercial success for the studio. A critical and commercial success for the film, which stars Jason Momoa as the titular character, could breathe new life into the DC Extended Universe that has struggled to win over fans and critics. But regardless of what happens with the film, Wan isn't looking too far ahead.

In a lengthy interview with the New York Times, Wan was asked about the future of Aquaman and the DC Extended Universe as a whole.

"I don’t know what the bigger picture is," the director responded. "But I think it’s really cool to take chances with the lesser-known characters and story lines. It’s good if all the other films have their own flavor, so they don’t force them to feel the same."

Asked if he would want a larger role in overseeing the big picture for DC movie operations, Wan responded, "It’s taken me so long just to finish this movie. [Laughs] I don’t want to think about somebody else’s movie at this point. I just want to survive this one."

So far, Aquaman is doing more than just surviving. Impressive global box office numbers, fueled by a strong performance in China, along with a mostly positive reception has the film sailing full speed ahead into the U.S. next week.

It's quite the turnaround from previous DCEU blockbusters. Wan admitted he was aware of the negative reception surrounding Justice League, Suicide Squad, and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which were fairly successful commercially but viewed as critical disappointments. However, he didn't allow the reception to those films affect Aquaman.

"I was definitely aware of that. The irony is, I picked “Aquaman” because I thought, here’s a superhero I can make that is fully under the radar. No one’s going to [care] about this film. I can just do whatever I want. Make it easy with no pressure. Fast-forward to three years later and now there’s a massive spotlight on it. So, to answer your question, obviously there was a sense of pressure. But I try not to let any of that cloud my vision for the film. I just plow ahead and continue to make the movie I wanted to make."

Ultimately, Wan chose to helm Aquaman because of the creative freedom it allowed and for the potential to create something truly meaningful and unique - something audiences have not seen before on the big screen.

I realized, wow, his character resides in this crazy, big world, and I could do something very interesting with it. I look up to people like Spielberg, Cameron, Lucas, John Carpenter. I’m a fan of genre filmmaking, naturally. So I thought I could make “Aquaman” a genre film, meaning a horror monster movie. DC basically said, yes, you can make Aquaman versus sea monsters if that’s what you want.

But with great creative freedom comes great responsibility and Wan is fully ready to accept the blame if Aquaman doesn't work.

"For as big a movie as “Aquaman” is, I could not have had more freedom. I had all the big tools and the budget to paint on a really big canvas, but with the freedom I had on, let’s say, 'Saw' or 'Insidious.'" he said. "So if the movie works, or doesn’t work, I have no one to blame but myself."

So far it seems like the creative gamble has paid off. The only questions Wan will face, it seems, is what's next for this filmmaker - especially in regards to the DCEU.

From Warner Bros. Pictures and director James Wan comes an action-packed adventure that spans the vast, visually breathtaking underwater world of the seven seas, “Aquaman,” starring Jason Momoa in the title role. The film reveals the origin story of half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry and takes him on the journey of his lifetime—one that will not only force him to face who he really is, but to discover if he is worthy of who he was born to be…a king.

Aquaman hits theaters stateside on December 21, 2018.
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