James Wan Had To Stop Jason Momoa From Being Too Angry In Some Aquaman Scenes

Jason Momoa Aquaman in submarine

During his career, Jason Momoa has found a niche playing angry characters. Khal Drogo from Game of Thrones, for example, was a brutal, violent warrior, and similar adjectives could be applied to his lead performance in 2011's Conan The Barbarian. Hell, he was even pretty ornery in his first full performance as Aquaman in Justice League. Going forward, however, that isn't really going to be who the DC character is in his upcoming solo film, and during the making of the new movie, director James Wan actually had to occasionally give the actor notes about not appearing so pissed off all the time. In the filmmaker's own words:

Jason will always say that I took him out of his comfort zone because that's not what he's known for. There were a few moments when I was directing him that I said, 'Jason, you're playing this a bit too angry,' and he'd look at me and say, 'James this is what they paid me money to do! Khal Drogo! That's why they paid me.' I'd say 'Great, that's good for Khal Drogo. We're creating a very different character here, and there will be very many moments in the movie where you'll be able to be really tough, but in this moment I want to see more of that light-hearted goofiness from you that is gonna service the movie well.'

Late last month I joined a small group of reporters visiting the Aquaman edit bay on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California where James Wan and his team are currently assembling the blockbuster in preparation for its upcoming December release. During an extended sit down with the director, one subject that came up was the evolution of the titular character from his appearance in Justice League -- and Wan made a few points very clear. Specifically, while the underwater hero had a bit of a hard edge to him the last time we saw him, audiences should expect to see a more fun, personality-filled performance from Jason Momoa in his next turn.

According to James Wan, Aquaman will still see Arthur Curry as a man who belongs to two different worlds but also none -- but that won't necessarily leave him with the aggressive attitude that's been previously on display. Instead, the movie is going to more lean into Jason Momoa's real-life charisma, which Wan noted he was surprised to discover when the two of them first started working together on the project. Said the director,

I knew I didn't necessarily want to make the whole movie with where his character left off in Justice League. I think that might be too heavy to just follow a guy who's just kind of you know... just that heaviness of it. When I first met Jason, I was kind of blown away by how funny he was and how charismatic he is in person like, 'Dude, I wanna bring that into the screen. I wanna see more of you, see more of your own personality in the movie,' and that's what we did. I went back to my writers and we would do things and shape the script.

When you think about it, it's not super hard to understand why this direction was chosen. As we learned from DC movies of the recent past, it's a lot more entertaining to watch a hero be excited to be a hero, rather than treat it as a burden. Hopefully the change won't be too jarring when audiences eventually watch Justice League and Aquaman back-to-back, but perhaps we'll just be able to say that he got an attitude adjustment by working alongside some of the planet's most powerful beings.

This news honestly just has us more excited for what James Wan and Jason Momoa are cooking up with Aquaman -- and before long, we'll be able to see the finished product. The feature will be heading to theaters on December 21st -- and be sure to be on the lookout for more from my edit bay visit here on CinemaBlend.

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.