The Big Reason Aquaman Has Been Challenging To Film, According To James Wan

Aquaman meeting a wave in Justice League

While it's still very much in its infancy, the DC Extended Universe has been announcing a ton of upcoming films for the shared universe, albeit many of them are without release dates. One of the more concrete films coming down the pipeline is James Wan's Aquaman, which will give Arthur Curry his first solo movie in the shared universe. With Wan's sterling reputation after this groundbreaking work in the horror genre, fans are eager to see how he translates one of the lesser beloved DC heroes for the silver screen. And the director recently revealed the most challenging aspect of his task: filming the scenes that are supposed to be underwater.

James Wan recently spoke to THR about the complications of filming Aquaman, where he addressed the complexity of filming the many scenes set underwater. He revealed:

It's a very technically challenging shoot to be on. Working with water, and even the dry-for-wet sequences are very complex. ... Our equivalent of two people sitting around chatting in the underwater world is super complicated. You have to think about CG with the hair, and how their clothing moves, how are they floating, what kind of rig we put them on and all that stuff.

This certainly sounds like a headache, and proves what kind of vision James Wan needed in order to conceptualize the film. The entire game has to be rethought in order to give the illusion of the actors speaking and living underwater, and the CGI required is no doubt going to be impressive.

The cast of Aquaman will reportedly need to be working primarily on rigs, to give the illusion that they are floating in Aquaman's underwater settings. And in addition to CGI helping to fill in the underwater world of Atlantis, it will also take a ton of visual affects work to properly render each character's hair. Because instead of laying flat on their head the way it would on the surface, hair will have to be in constant weightless motion in order to move the way it normally functions underwater. The same goes for characters' clothes. If they have anything that isn't skin tight, the fabric will have a different way of sitting underwater.

And in the few scenes that do take place on the surface, the cast will also need to be properly doused in water to give the illusion that they just left the sea. This is perhaps the easiest of James Wan's Aquaman challenges, but it's yet another ball in the air for this already complicated set. But if James Wan can make it all work, the Aquaman will no doubt be one of the most visually fascinating films in recent memory.

Aquaman will arrive in theaters December 21st, 2018, and you can catch the title character in Justice League on November 17, 2017. In the meantime, check out our 2017 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Double majored in theater and literature during undergrad. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid.