How Aquaman Filmed Nicole Kidman's Amazing Fight Scene In One Long Take

Nicole Kidman battling as Atlanna

The DC Universe has had a fascinating tenure in theaters, filled with both peaks and valleys. The next movie to hit theaters is James Wan's Aquaman, with the horror director tasked with bringing the DCEU underwater, and hopefully providing the first critical success since Wonder Woman. Wan assembled a strong cast of actors to bring the blockbuster to life, including Nicole Kidman as Aquaman's mother Queen Atlanna.

Atlanna's role will help fill in the backstory of Arthur Curry, and she'll even get a brief action sequence of her own. The scene was actually released early, showing Atlanna dispatching enemies in casual streetwear, taking up her trident in the process. James Wan opened up about the process it took to film the long shot, saying:

[Kidman] did it, with some help. But you talked about one shot before. That is one shot. Like if I show you guys the behind the scene of that, it is messy as heck. But it literally is we built the set with the ceiling removed. And it literally was a spider-cam that just zip around the whole room just like following the action. Following Atlanna as she just takes a person out, takes another person out. And obviously, we use visual effects to help clean a lot of things up and all that. But yeah, we did a lot of that in camera, practical stunt.

Well, that's quite the production. Long shots in movies are tricky animals, with intense choreography and production needed to facilitate camera's movements. And in order to properly show Atlanna fighting off a home invasion, an extensive set needed to be constructed. This let Nicole Kidman's DC character have the range of motion she needed, and made for the thrilling scene.

While Aquaman doesn't hit theaters for another week or so, the Atlanna's big action scene was released early. You can check it out below, and see how James Wan's crew skillfully crafted the thrilling sequence (via Comic Book).

In his same conversation with Slash Film, James Wan also discussed just how long it ultimately took to film Atlanna's big scene. Given the long shots and complicated fight choreography and affects, the short but awesome scene took a ton of work. And a whole ton of takes. He said,

I think I did over 30 takes. And it had to be split over two days, 'cause like on the first day we did it like my poor, amazing stunt actors got so tired 'cause we were doing like take after take. And it's just like hard to keep that energy up, right?

Luckily, it appears that James Wan and his crew ultimately got it together. Atlanna's fight scene looks epic, and it will likely be even better on a big screen, where Wan's visuals and the extensive choreography could be experienced in full.

Aquaman will arrive in theaters on December 21st. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your trips to the movies in the New Year.

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.