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Aquaman set: Everything we learned + producer Peter Safran details the film

07.16.2018

Last year, after a fun, yet exhausting Comic Con, I had the distinct pleasure to join a handful of fellow journalists on a quick jaunt to Australia’s Gold Coast where they were filming a little DCEU movie called…AQUAMAN. Perhaps you’ve heard of it? Well, if you’re reading this, then you most certainly have. Directed by James Wan and starring Jason Momoa as the titular character, Amber Heard as Mera, Patrick Wilson as Orm, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, Temuera Morrison as Thomas Curry, and Dolph Lundgren as King Neurus, the much-anticipated first live-action solo outing for Arthur Curry/AQUAMAN is a film that’s soaring with anticipation, especially after a particularly disastrous box office for JUSTICE LEAGUE, which served as the character’s proper intro into the DCEU.

However, the massive success of WONDER WOMAN has proven that the DCEU can certainly flourish both critically and commercially after the critical backlash against BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and SUICIDE SQUAD, both of which still turned a profit. Jason Momoa took on the role of AQUAMAN five years ago with director Zack Snyder extending the offer with his vision of a modern-day Arthur Curry. Since then, Momoa appeared in both BVS (in a small cameo) and JUSTICE LEAGUE in an expanded capacity, but is now ready to step into the limelight in his own feature that serves as both a proper origin of the character, as well as his first adventure post-JUSTICE LEAGUE.

During the visit, we traversed the sets, weapons, costumes, war room and more, interviewing Momoa, James Wan, Amber Heard, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, and producer Peter Safran. We saw everything from a massive blue-screen set with a fishing boat (where The Trench monsters will attack), giant underwater Atlantean sculptures (made of foam, of course, but looking very real), witnessed a scene in the Temple of the Dead King between Arthur and Mera (more on that HERE) as they are tasked with the mission that drives the film and walked around a recreated Italian city that will house one of the big action set pieces between Arthur/Mera and Black Manta. We also had the chance to view the costume area and check out the intricately made Atlantean armor and various other costumes from The Seven Seas, all of which pulled details from ocean-like materials, from scales to coral and beyond. We also had the opportunity to take a look at the Atlantean weapons, from tridents, quindents, spears, swords and guns, all of which are crafted with extreme detail and care. To say AQUAMAN is an undertaking would be sugarcoating it; this is a full-scale action-adventure superhero epic.

Standing on the set of The Temple of the Dead King. Fortnite wasn't out yet, so I couldn't do a Fortnite pose.

The epic scale was solidified in the War Room. Basically, an office with a large table in the middle for meetings, the walls are covered with concept art, from characters to sequences to vehicles to creatures to structures; it’s all there and it’s BIG. All the creatures of the Seven Seas are represented, from The Trench to Atlantis. Intricately detailed and ripped straight from Geoff Johns New 52 run on the comic, everything feels like it’s leapt off the comic page on its way to the big screen. Black Manta and his sword and retractable blade; Aquaman in the classic suit with orange scales, green pants and golden trident; a gladiator battle between Aquaman and Orm in front of an active volcano; Atlantean’s riding all manner of creatures, from sharks to octopus to sea horses, all armored and geared for battle. And let’s not forget Atlantis itself; massive, sprawling, vibrant and awe-inspiring. It’s an underwater metropolis and unlike anything we’ve ever seen before on the big screen. With all that said, here are the nuggets of cool info we pulled from the entire visit.

  • The film is an origin story that will see Arthur Curry/Aquaman at four different stages of his life with his present-day self leading the main focus of the story, while the younger versions are told in flashback.
  • The film draws heavily from Geoff Johns new 52 run of the Aquaman comic
  • The vibe of the film is said to be an epic adventure film in the vein of Raiders of the Lost Ark mixed with Romancing The Stone.
  • 2/3 of the movie take place underwater.
  • Director James Wan pursued making Aquaman after Furious 7 and wanted to turn all of the elements of Aquaman that people typically made fun o and turn it on its ear and scare the shit out of audiences.
  • Wan wanted to make a swashbuckling, fun, quest movie with Aquaman
  • The film will see Arthur and Mera on a journey to find King Atlan’s trident, while being pursued by both Orm and Black Manta. Arthur must prove his worth to find the trident, which would ultimately make him king of Atlantis.
  • The “trident” that Aquaman carried in Justice League is actually a Quindent and belonged to his mother, Queen Atlaana.
  • Wan credits Zack Snyder for casting Momoa as Aquaman, calling it a “stroke of genius” as no one would ever make fun of Aquaman again with him in the role.
  • Every actor the producers went after in the film were their first choice, from Patrick Wilson to Nicole Kidman to Temuera Morrison, etc.
  • Orm, Aquaman’s half brother, wants to destroy the surface dwellers, as the Atlanteans blame them for ruining and polluting the oceans. He does this by attacking coastal cities, while searching for Atlan’s trident, which would give him the full power he needs to completely wipe them out and take over.
  • Orm will be shown to be a brutal villain that will do whatever he must to get the other kingdoms in line with his vision, from threats to executions.
  • There is a big battle in the film called The Battle of the Brine, which pits Orm’s army vs. The Fisherman Kingdom in an attempt to subjugate them.
  • Black Manta's origin story will be just like the comics, where he ultimately becomes Aquaman's arch nemesis.
  • Black Manta is being set up to appear in multiple films as such and will serve at the B-villain in this story, while Orm will be the primary antagonist.
  • Orm supplies the technology for Black Manta’s costume and weapons, allowing him to track down and attempt to kill Aquaman
  • Aquaman’s parents meeting is described as The Little Mermaid; human man meets Atlantean woman, they fall in love and have a child. She ends up having to go back to the water, while the Atlanteans want to kill her for betraying her own kind. She leaves the child with Thomas Curry to raise and keep safe.
  • Aquaman grows up feeling like his mom abandoned him and becomes an angry drifter, growing up in Amnesty Bay, Maine with his father
  • There’s a flashback scene where Arthur visits the Boston Aquarium on a field trip and is being bullied when he suddenly finds the fish in the aquarium rallying to him. This is where he begins to discover that he can “talk to fish”.
  • This prompts Arthur to confront his father about what happened and he reveals that he is part Atlantean and shows him his mother’s quindent, which he eventually takes and uses in Justice League.
  • Aquaman is said to have some Game of Thrones like elements at play, seeing as Atlantis is like a monarch with Atlanteans being modeled after ancient Greek/Romans.
  • Although Mera appeals to Aquaman to come and help save Atlantis, it takes Orm’s dropping a Tidal Wave on Amnesty Bay and nearly killing his father to draw him into the fight, having finally seen the destruction that his half-brother is capable of.
  • Zack Snyder pitched Mera to Amber Heard when casting for Justice League as a “warrior queen” saying that she basically gets a sword and a crown.
  • Once in Atlantis, Orm and Arthur will battle in a gladiatorial match in front of an active volcano, as part of their ritualistic combat to declare a victor between the two for the crown of Atlantis.
  • An entire Italian villa was built to create a land battle sequence between Aquaman, Mera and Black Manta
  • In order to achieve the look of the characters swimming underwater, actors were put on a set of wires and a special rig, with some sequences having up to 10 people at a time conversing and acting together with the rigs attached.
  • The Atlanteans have the ability to live underwater and have enhanced physical characteristics, just a notch below Superman in terms of power/invulnerability. However, they can be damaged or killed by their own technology.
  • All Seven Kingdoms will be represented in the film: Atlantis, The Trench, Xebel, The Brine, The Fisherman Kingdom, The Missing Kingdom, and an unknown seventh. This is where the whole “Unite the Seven” tagline came from in that very early look at Aquaman (many thought it had to do with uniting the Justice League).
  • There won’t be mass carnage in the film, as none of the battles take place in major cities. There are certainly deaths, but not on an epic scale.
  • The Atlantean armor and weaponry is very reminiscent of the Elvish armor and weapons from Lord of the Rings, but much more colorful. Additionally, there are underwater guns and varying types of armor for different Atlantean army specialties.
  • Atlantean warriors will use various creatures for transport and combat, including sharks, squids and sea horses, which look much more dragon-like in appearance. All of the creatures have some form of armor on them.
  • Wan will pay homage to The Creature From The Black Lagoon type films in a sequence that features The Trench monsters attacking a boat on a romantic cruise. 
  • James Wan has a very different approach and directing style from Zack Snyder, which is something mentioned by everyone that worked on both Justice League and Aquaman. Aquaman is very much Wan’s film.
  • Wan says that the journey that Arthur takes in this film will lead to him becoming the Aquaman as we know him.

Paul's final thoughts: So, that's a grand roll-up of all the interesting "meat and potatoes" info that I gleaned from AQUAMAN. As a fan of the DCEU and comic book films as a whole, I was very impressed by the way this film was coming together. Having seen the trailer at CinemaCon and all the various teases at Comic Con, etc. AQUAMAN feels like it will be something really special. Wan seems determined to make something great out of the character and has a definitive vision for the tone, style and mythology that goes with this story. The cast is outstanding and everyone is beyond enthused to be a part of this (that we talked to, anyway). From a technical standpoint, Wan has been injecting his signature style into the film, using extensive camera movements and finding a way to make everything work underwater that isn't distracting or unbelievable (within context, of course). In addition, the creation of new rigs to create the underwater swimming effects and intense attention to detail from the costumes to the weapons to the setting make the case for a hell of a bold jump deeper into the genre. For me, simply being in the War Room and seeing the mountains of concept art was enough to sell me on the film. Visually, this is a huge film and one that honors its roots in a big way, while still making it fit within a cinematic sphere. Seeing the concept art of Momoa in the classic suit was a jaw dropper for me and gave me the nerd chills. Everything else, from Black Manta to Orm to Mera and the amazing designs of Atlantis and the various creatures, vehicles and weapons of the Seven Seas, makes me feel like AQUAMAN is going to be a special film, particularly for the genre, which has yet to give us an underwater superhero film. I think this will set that standard in a big way.

"I'm not the one that brought a pitchfork..."

There's still more info to cull, however, and we talked with producer Peter Safran about the film, who was kind enough to give us our first look at Black Manta in full costume during the interview, as well as share the vision for the film, the casting of Momoa and much, much more. Take a deep dive below!

Question: Aquaman has been teased throughout the years, particularly his ability to talk to fish. Is that referenced or played up in the movie?

Peter: Yeah, y’know, I think one of the things that really drew James [Wan] to Aquaman was the kind of underdog nature of him as a superhero. And, I know that after Fast [Furious 7] when he was offered, y’know, basically, anything he wanted to do-he told me, he said, ‘I want to do Aquaman’. And, I had that same reaction that he seems to be one of those superheroes that people do make fun of. But, James loved the idea of turning people’s perceptions of Aquaman on their head. And so, he’s like, ‘give me all the stuff that you made fun of and I’m gonna turn it on its ear and scare the shit out of you with it.’ And his feeling also was-it’s Jason Momoa; once it’s Jason Momoa you cannot make fun of this guy. He brings a whole new energy and power to Aquaman and just to the superhero world in general. And I think that that’s one of the things that James embraced most firmly and we certainly make a nod to those elements that people make fun of, absolutely. Absolutely.

Question: In a comedic way…?

Peter: Sure, comedic but also in an action-oriented way, too. A lot of people make fun of the fact that, y’know, you’ve seen images of Aquaman on a sea horse and he’s like, you know what, just look at the sea dragon we’ve created that some of these guys are gonna be riding. They’re absolutely a strong element. Y’know, James is a guy who I think in many ways has been an underdog as well and I think he’s drawn to that side of how Aquaman is perceieved.

Question: We first got a look at Momoa as Aquaman in BVS and will see him again in Justice League. How does this movie react to what we’ve seen before and then dive into Atlantis?

Peter: Sure, y’know, obviously BVS was just a small hint of it and Justice League there’s a lot more. Going into Justice League, before they shot it, there were a lot of conversations about the things that were important to James [Wan] to be the one to reveal; storylines that were important to him, elements that were important to him. We wanted to make sure that Atlantis was never seen before we show it. And so, there were those conversations with Zack [Snyder] and DC and both DC and Zack and the studio were all incredibly magnanimous about respecting those things that were important to James. And throughout the whole process we’ve always made sure the storyline that we’re telling and the storyline that they told meld together in an organic fashion. There were conversations as recently as the additional shooting [on Justice League], just about, ‘we want to do this, well, what about this, how does it impact us?’ and everybody’s played very well together.

Question: Charles Roven said that the events of Justice League do directly affect the plot of Aquaman. Is that accurate?

Peter: Our plot? Not really. I mean, I think there’s nothing that conflicts with it and our movie takes place after Justice League. I suppose, perhaps, in terms of the mindset of Aquaman, of Arthur Curry, I would say certainly is on the continuum.

Question: What kind of hero is Aquaman at the beginning of the film and what kind of journey is he about to go on?

Peter: Y’know, I think we find him in Justice League and find him at the beginning of our movie as a guy who is still very much a loner and the journey that he takes on this movie, y’know, he has quite a strong emotional arc that occurs as he and Mera team up on this quest and he’s a guy that is a loner and I think he learns through this process the need to perhaps build bridges instead of push people away.

Question: The war room art work was very clear that it was heavily influenced by Geoff Johns’ work in the comic. Can you speak to Johns’ involvement on the film?

Peter: I think that the new 52 version of Aquaman was definitely our touchstone and our starting point. And even though the film is not a direct adaptation of that, that was certainly the-y’know, in terms of his origin, who he is, that Tom Curry is his father and Atlanna is his mother, who Orm is, etc. That all comes from the new 52. And, there are certainly creature elements from it, from the Trench. So, that was our biggest influence. And the fact that Geoff and James originally broke the story for this one, and then Will Beall and David Leslie Johnson at different times wrote it. I think that the fact that they [Wan & Johns] broke the story together-y’know, Geoff has tremendous creative involvement all the way through, on a day-to-day basis to the present day. I spoke to him this morning. So, he really is a great touchstone to making sure we keep it in the correct world.

Question: Jason Momoa looks and acts very different from the comic version of Aquaman and brings a whole different dynamic to this character. How much of this was purposeful for you guys? Were you trying to break away from the look and feel of who Aquaman was in the comics or did it just happen organically with Momoa’s involvement?

Peter: Well, I think it’s two-fold. One is, Zack [Snyder] and Warner Brothers did a great job-y’know, they cast Jason five years ago, so he’s been in it for a long time and I thought that was inspired casting.  I think that our children and the kids today, this generation that’s gonna see Aquaman, they will not be able to think of anybody other than Jason Momoa as Aquaman, because he just embodies this incredible character so well and he is a force of nature and he has such a large personality.  And, listen, there’s always gonna be the classic comic books, those will exist, but, I know my eleven-year-old daughter thinks of Jason Momoa as Aquaman. And, y’know, he embodies it so beautifully and he also embodies kind of the dichotomy that exists in Aquaman in the comic books. Y’know, Jason is a guy that feels like he never really fit in anywhere as a Hawaiian growing up in Iowa; didn’t fit in Iowa. When he goes back to Hawaii he was a mainlander, so he never fit. Aquaman is half Atlantean, half the surface world, never felt like he fit in the surface world and certainly never wanted to be part of Atlantis. So, Jason kind of organically brings that character to the table. And, because it’s so authentic, I think it’s gonna just dominate people’s minds when they see the movie and when they see Jason doing it. He’s Aquaman. That is what the next generation of Aquaman is gonna be. So, the fact that he’s so authentic in it means that we embraced it. And it was organic and intrinsic to the story at that point. It was very easy for Jason to be that guy, because Jason is that guy. And, he brings a lot of Jason Momoa to Aquaman, but it makes sense, y’know. It fits.

Question: How would you say Aquaman and Mera’s love story is similar to and different than these types of stories in other superhero films.

Peter: I wouldn’t necessarily call it in this movie a love story. It’s very much in the vein of-y’know, the whole movie-is in the vein of Indiana Jones. Y’know, James wanted to tell this swashbuckling, fun, quest movie. Just, it’s a great time for everybody to see. So, the relationship is a little bit Michael Douglas-Kathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone, which is ultimately a romantic action movie. But, I wouldn’t say it’s actually a romance. There is a great antagonism, because of the places they come from. She is all about duty and honor and he’s all about looking out for number one. And, I think what they both realize over the course of their journey-y’know, he harbors such anger toward Atlantis for killing his mother. He learns that he shouldn’t judge the entirety of Atlantis based on the actions of one man and she learns that the surface world is a place that’s really worth preserving and finding a way to coexist.

Question: Should we expect to see any other DCEU characters that have already been established in this film?

Peter: Still up in the air. Still up in the air. I know that it’s always fun to do that. We’ll see. We’ll see what happens.

Question: Is there one that you think would make more sense that you would prefer to see?

Peter: I don’t know. The truth is we’re still talking about all of that.

Question: Can we get a Vinnie Chase cameo?

Peter: I don’t think so. But, I have to give-I applaud them [Entourage on HBO] for that storyline cause it certainly helped bring Aquaman into the forefront of people’s attention in terms of mockery and it gave us a lot more to work with in terms of changing their minds.

Question: Have you guys joked about that on set?

Peter: We have on set. And, certainly I talked to James about it right when he said-cause he was offered any of these characters-and he was like, ‘this is the one’. The other reason this is the one, of course, is it’s a world that we’ve never seen before. You’ve seen stuff in space, you’ve seen stuff on Earth, but you’ve never seen the underwater superhero movie. And, because it’s a movie that couldn’t have been made from a technical perspective even five years ago, that challenge was something that James and the rest of us really embraced and I know you’ve seen it in Bill’s artwork and Kim’s wardrobe, just, y’know, the creativity that went into creating this world that we’ve never seen. Did you guys do the props as well? James’ attention to detail from the filigree on every gun barrel, the look of the writing from Atlantis, the ornamentation on the trident; every single one of those things, it’s James, ‘give me a little more of this and a little less of that’. I think it’s been an incredibly satisfying experience for all of us involved to be able to bring it to life.

Question: We’ve heard that Black Manta is the B-story when the brotherly fued is the A-story and Black Manta is someone you hope to see come into play more in heavily in the future. With this film, how much are you thinking about future stories?

Peter: Listen, we love Manta. From the early days of developing the screenplay he’s just such a great antagonist and he’s such a fan favorite. And, the response every time people hear that he’s in the movie or that it’s confirmed that he’s in the movie they’re thrilled about it. So, we always wanted to give him his storyline and if Orm is the primary antagonist, then Manta is certainly is a very strong secondary antagonist and there is a connection between Orm and Manta that will be revealed that that helps make him a more integral part of the story. We certainly have every intention that Manta plays a very large role in the DC universe. He has to. He’s just too great. And we give him his origin story in this movie. We do show how Manta that we see in the comic books, became that character. And, we’re so fortunate to have this guy Yahya Abdul-Mateen II to play him. I don’t know if you guys saw The Get Down on Netflix or-y’know, this guy Yahya is just extraordinary and he came in and he auditioned and we met with him and it was just a slam dunk. We look forward to you seeing him.

Question: Seeing the concept art, he actually just looks like Black Manta. You’re doing it straight up. What was the process in deciding that’s what you were going to do?

Peter: Y’know, James loved Manta-loved Manta from the comic books. But then, just designing the actual look of Manta, like taking it from the comic book to the real life. That was just something we spent countless hours on and incredibly satisfying. I actually have a picture of his first day on…[pulls out his phone to show us a picture of Black Manta]…so, here he is-this is on the first day…We couldn’t stop taking pictures of him, because he just satisfied everything. So, I sent this picture to Geoff Johns and the e-mail came back all caps, all exclamation marks and he’s like, ‘Holy shit, the ribs glow!’ [laughs] It really is-he’s just a great character and we’re having a lot of fun with him and what he does and his evolution throughout the movie.

Question: Can you talk about Nicole Kidman’s presence in the movie and what her chemistry with Jason’s been like?

Peter: Well, Nicole doesn’t start working for another couple of weeks. So, she hasn’t met Jason yet. But, when you look at our concept art going way back to October-September of last year, we always used her face for Atlanna. Before we ever had conversations with her, James [Wan] always said, “I just picture Nicole as this.’ And then, he’d say, ‘By the way, I hear she wants to work with me.’ And we’d all say, ‘Yeah, sure she does! I’m sure she loves Fast and Furious.’   But, when we reached out we immediately got a response that, ‘Oh, she loves James’ work, she loves James.’ So, we met with her and that was it. Just one meeting. We showed her the artwork, she read the script and she was like, ‘I love this’. So, she jumped right on board and has been really game between doing a lot of the wardrobe stuff-which is super cool. I don’t know if you saw the Atlanna outfits, I’m not sure that they were on the wall, but, y’know, really cool stuff. And we can’t wait to get her down here.

Every actor that we went to for the movie was our first choice. There was nobody that we went to that said no. Patrick Wilson was the first guy on board and, obviously, Amber and Jason were already on board, and Willem [Dafoe], but everybody-Temuera [Morrison] we could never see anybody but Temuera as Jason’s dad and Jason felt the same way. He’s such a giant Once Were Warriors fan and he was like, ‘this is the guy, this has gotta be the guy’. So, Nicole was just another in the list of it. We love the cast that we put together. It’s incredibly gratifying. You can see in these superhero movies, Wan has been able to cast them up in a dream manner and this is just another example of it today. And it kinda shows the respect that these movies get now from the  top-notch actors. Nobody is slumming it. They’re all excited to work with cool filmmakers and make movies that, frankly, that their kids want to see.

Question: How is James Wan bringing his style and camerawork to this film?

Peter: It’s a good question. I’ve worked with him on two other films with him directing and then three other films with him as a fellow producer and his camerawork is his signature. He really gets off on creating interesting shots that tell the story in a really cool way. So, as he’s developed the storyboards and the early conversations with Don Burgess, our DP, who also did The Conjuring 2, it’s always been about finding interesting ways to tell the story. And, y’know, one of the things that I always love that James does is he ties pieces of action, disparate pieces of action, together in one shot, so as you finish this piece of action with Mera, in the background youre picking up Arthur doing his thing and you fall right into the storyline, so there’s some really cool examples of that. But, every-just the storytelling in general with this movie is complex from a camera perspective, because so much of it is set underwater. And so you have actors on tuning forks-and I don’t know if you’ve seen these on other set visits, but there are-and we’ve adapted them to make them work even better than they’ve ever worked before-but the actors are on long-they look like giant tuning forks with a little pick at the front that go on the hips and it allows them to have the appearance of buoyancy. It also gives them rotational abilities and you have guys maneuvering the tuning forks so you can push them forward, but there’s a big steering wheel on the end so you can also turn them so that it looks like they’re spinning or floating, whatever it is. So, James has created a language and a methodology with Don Burgess, with R.A. Rondell, our stunt coordinator, with Kyle [Gardiner], our other stunt coordinator, they have together figured out a methodology to tell the story in a really interesting and effective manner and it’s kind of a beautiful thing to see. And that’s part of what you couldn’t have done several years ago, like the technology just wasn’t there between visual effects, camerawork, the special-effects nature of building these tools and it all comes together in a really interesting manner.

Question: When people think of James, they think of him as a horror guy, and we have seen in the concept art some of the horror sensibility-

[Jason Momoa pops his head in the tent]

Peter: Momoa!

Momoa: Hey! I’m comin’ back. I gotta go shoot this little movie called Aquaman. I’ll be right back.

Question: How does Wan’s horror sensibilities benefit a superhero movie?

Peter: Well, there are two elements to that. One is the very specific sequences like The Trench, which is his homage to Creature From The Black Lagoon type scary movies and that whole sequence is classic James Wan from the way, y’know, characters are revealed, the way the creatures are revealed to the actual action that goes into that entire sequence. And that’ll be a signature James Wan scary sequence. But, in terms of how he brings his other genre filmmaking abilities to bear in a superhero movie; y’know, his horror movies, generally speaking, whether it’s two Conjuring series or Insidious, are also incredibly well reviewed because he’s got craftsman-like quality the way he makes it; they’re always character driven, he always spends time introducing you to the characters so that when they go through what they ultimately go through you actually feel for them. That’s something he clearly does here. He’s not a big believer in quick cuts, he’s a big believer in letting the action unfold in the cool camerawork that was reference earlier. So, he brings that to bear in making Aquaman. It feels like James has waited his whole life to make this movie. What he learned from making his one-million-dollar Saw’s or his twenty-million Conjuring’s or his several-hundred-million-dollar Fast and the Furious movies all come to bear in this and I think this is a really character driven, fun, good time that’s got elements of everything you’ve seen him do in the past.

Question: Can you talk a little bit about the comedy? Can we expect that in Aquaman?

Peter: Absolutely. When Warner Brothers and DC gave James Aquaman, he was only interested in doing it if it could be a departure from what had become the DC brand of superhero, which, whether you like it or don’t like it, it just wasn’t how he saw Aquaman being done. And so, it was always much more Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone. And, y’know, both of those movies have such great elements of comedy, real jeopardy, great characters and that’s what he brings to the table here. And that is absolutely what the movie is. It’s character comedy between Arthur and Mera. It’s that great African Queen type rapport that also exists, but, y’know, people from two different worlds having to come together. There’s a lot of great comedy that’s probably closer to what one sees in Wonder Woman than anything you’ve seen prior in the DC movies.

Question: His character seems sarcastic from what I’ve seen today…

Peter: He is and frankly that is Jason as well. His character is very, very much Jason. He’s just genuinely Jason as a person, certainly as he plays Arthur. Jason is just a really fun guy to be around. He’s the guy that everybody wants to be friends with. He just brings an energy into every room. I think Arthur is not that guy at the beginning of the movie and you’ve seen in Justice League that he’s kind of a surly loner in many regards, but when he makes the turn it’s very believable, because that’s who Jason is.

Question: Can you talk about an Aquaman theme or composer and the musical direction of the film?

Peter: We have not selected a composer yet [note: it is now confirmed to be Wonder Woman composer Rupert Gregson-Williams], but we are going down the road with a couple guys right now. I don’t want to steal James’ thunder, because he actually has a very specific musical bent and score idea for the score. It’s a very interesting combination and I’d rather let him, at some point, talk about it. It’s really cool and when he describes it as if they would butt-up against each other, but in our explorations of it, so far, they fit together beautifully, so I’m sure it’s something that he’ll address.

Question: It feels like something that’s definitely needed to be focused on as it’s a new world…

Peter: Yeah, absolutely, which is why it’s not just John Williams and it’s not just-it’s got to be something unique, because it’s a unique world we’re exploring. So, if you remember when the camera sinks down and the reveal of the armada [from the Comic Con footage], that sound, that music that is revealed there, is close to-is in the world of what we’re going for. It’s got to have that magical, but it has to be majestic.

Question: When Jason was on stage at Comic Con he sort of revealed who that armada was, not sure if he was supposed to-

Peter: Probably not. He’s not good at withholding stuff.

Question: And then he’s like, telling kids that Superman is definitely dead, how much do you guys support Jason being Jason and how much is it you guys saying, Jason, you don’t have to tell everything?

Peter: You know, first of all, Jason is always gonna be Jason. You don’t really wrangle Jason Momoa. I think that he’s aware in a broad sense of what he should and shouldn’t say and sometimes he’ll err on the wrong side of that line, but I think he’s aware.

Question: Are there any Easter Eggs that people that didn’t read the comics will pick up on?

Peter: Sure, absolutely. Yeah, there will be, absolutely.

Question: Can you talk a little bit about the action? How are you approaching it? Do you have like three or four or five major set pieces?

Peter: Listen, I think that perhaps with the exception of the Fast movies, I think that action alone without character doesn’t really sell tickets anymore. I think that the standard has raised above that now and I think that, y’know, if you just have a ton of action with no characters it’s really hard to get the audience in ‘cause they’ve kind of seen it all. The good news for our action is they’ve never seen our action ‘cause it’s happening underwater with dynamics and physics that nobody has really experienced before. But, we focused very heavily on the characters to make sure that, as I said earlier, a trademark of James’ is to make sure you care about the characters before you see them go through the paces. But, our action sequences I think are pretty unique and James has always tried to craft things that people have not seen before and also to service the characters in a really good fashion. [to rep] Did you take them up to the Italy set? [answers yes] So, we just basically finished the main unit stuff up there and that Italy sequence was always just this incredible sequence that James, the stunt guys, we all really put into this-it’s an incredible, incredible sequence, but it’s got different stuff in it; it’s got Manta stuff, it’s got Mera stuff, it’s got Arthur stuff, it’s got everybody using their respective strengths; it’s a unique piece, even though it’s not below water, but it is a unique piece. And, if anything I would say it feels like what James did in Fast 7 with that incredible sequence on the road with the big truck that eventually ends up going over-just when you think there’s nowhere else you can go with it, he goes somewhere else with it. So, we spent a lot of time crafting original piece and I think that there’s a lot in this movie, there are a lot of action set pieces, but they don’t really count for much if the character stuff isn’t working early on.

Question: We can expect a shirtless Jason at one point?

Peter: I’m shocked he’s wearing one now. It’s always a shirtless Jason around here. Nobody fights him on it. Nobody’s ever said, ‘Jason, put on a shirt!’

AQUAMAN swims into theaters on December 21st, 2018.

READ MORE - James Wan on why he chose to make Aquaman and the character's first solo journey

READ MORE - Jason Momoa talks the classic suit, working with James Wan and more!

READ MORE - Amber Heard talks Mera and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II talks Black Manta!

Source: JoBlo.com

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