Why Aquaman's Willem Dafoe Liked Working With James Wan

Willem Dafoe in Grand Budapest Hotel

The DC Extended Universe is a funny place. Because while new movies are being announced at blinding speeds, there aren't a ton of concrete release dates or a schedule locked down. That is, except for the shared universe's next two installments. Because after Zack Snyder's Justice League hits theaters in November, James Wan's Aquaman will be the next down the pipeline. The film has been shooting for a few months, and some actors have been nearly the end of their time onset. Willem Dafoe recently wrapped his role in the blockbuster, and took the time to praise Wan's skill and vision as a director.

James Wan's great. He's great. I mean, because of the underwater [aspect of the movie] it's very complicated technically. But you see it in his films, he's very detail-oriented. He figures the cut. He's very precise. He's a real gifted filmmaker.

Willem Dafoe seems to really think highly of James Wan, which hopefully is a testament to the director's vision for Aquaman. After all, he's got a big task ahead of him.

Willem Dafoe's comments to Playlist seemingly confirms what audiences have thought about James Wan's work as a director for years. Anyone who has seen Wan's horror films like the Inception and Conjuring franchises can see that his vision is focused and deliberate. Those films and their respective creatures have a visual style that is unlike any other, and now it sounds like DC has given him free reign to explore with Aquaman.

Everyone involved in Aquaman have spoken to how technically complicated the shooting process is. Because the majority of the film is set underwater, the cast isn't able to use space and walk around as they normally would. Instead, there are rigging systems to ensure that they appear to be floating. This makes even the smallest scene a technical hurdle, and should translate onto film very interestingly.

The illusion of floating underwater will also need a crap ton of visual effects. Each strand of hair and article of clothing must be in constant weightless motion, so the artists doing the CGI will have hours and hours of labor on their hands. All of this once again revolves around the specificity and detail-oriented nature of James Wan's filmmaking, and how all the moving pieces must assemble in order for Aquaman to function visually.

Considering just how many credits Willem Dafoe has on his resume, the high praise for James Wan speaks volumes. Dafoe has worked with the best in the business; so if he believes that Wan is gifted, then he must have really won over the Oscar nominated actor.

Aquaman will dive into theaters on December 21, 2018, but both the title character and Willem Dafoe's Nuidis Vulko are also set to appear in Justice League on November 17th. 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. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. 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. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.