How Much Of The Aquaman Movie Actually Takes Place Underwater


For a hero named Aquaman, Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry didn't spend a ton of time in the water in Justice League. Sure, there was that one battle against Ciaran Hinds' Steppenwolf protecting the Motherbox, but the rest of the took place on the surface (including the climactic finale). As you might have guessed, however, that won't be the case for James Wan's upcoming Aquaman movie, which will see sixty-six percent of the action take place below the waves. This information comes to us from production designer Bill Brzeski, who told us,

Two-thirds of this movie takes place underwater. It's difficult, too, because it's all supposedly under water, so people are swimming around. You would never have a room like this underwater. People float around, they swim... The geometry or the architecture is a three-dimensional space underwater, so doors are on the top, on the bottom. It's like being in a space station, if you see any of those movies. People upside down. They don't care. They're underwater. So we have to deal with all that to tell the story and make it kind of fun.

That quote comes from an interview conducted last year on the set of Aquaman in Melbourne, Australia, which I had the opportunity to visit along with a small group of other journalists. While in the production art room, surrounded by conceptual illustrations detailing most of the movie, Bill Brzeski set up the plot the film, and broke down a lot of how the underwater world works. This included revealing not only how much of the movie takes place in Atlantis and the other kingdoms, but also how that fact was immensely influential on his design work.

When you think about it, the only reason doors are almost exclusively vertical and that we need stairs is because of gravity. If that element were taken out of the equation, what would society look like? That was basically the task put in the hands of James Wan and his department heads, and it presented a serious challenge. That being said, it also gave them opportunity to execute some fantastic and creative ideas, such as those illustrated by Bill Brzeski above in the field of architecture.

As for the percentage of the movie that takes place underwater, it's an answer fans definitely want to hear. There is no question that Arthur Curry has important connections to the surface world, as his father is human and he was raised as a human child -- but when you're making an Aquaman movie, most of that story needs to take place in areas filled with H2O. Based on what I gathered on set, it doesn't sound like there was all that much real water actually used, with actors instead put on wires in chroma key environments, but that's really a necessity because constantly using tanks would be impractical.

Starring Jason Momoa, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, Ludi Lin, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Temuera Morrison, Amber Heard, and Nicole Kidman, Aquaman arrives in theaters this December -- and here on CinemaBlend we have a ton more coverage from the set coming your way.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.