Why Aquaman Couldn't Actually Film In Italy

Jason Momoa in Aquaman

Most of Aquaman takes place under water and as such, it of course required the majority of the film to be shot on a soundstage. The same is true of the film's detour to Italy when Arthur Curry and Mera make their way to the island of Sicily. Everything you see there was created by the set designers. However, it turns out that wasn't originally going to be the case. The original plan had been to shoot the chase and Black Manta fight sequence on location in Erice, Scicily. Unfortunately, it turns out the town rejected the production's request to film there. It's maybe not too surprising considering what the movie wanted to do. According to Aquaman producer Peter Safran...

We were originally going to shoot in Erice until they found out what we wanted to do there.

Of course, what they wanted to do was stage one of the film's major action sequences. It starts with some statues being destroyed as Black Manta attacks Aquaman and Mera with some Atlantean soldiers in tow. The battle then breaks in half as Mera is chased by one of the soldiers while Aquaman and Black Manta face off. It's an incredibly well done sequence that, thanks to some digital trickery, appears to all be happening in a single take.

While I'm sure the Aquaman production wasn't actually planning to blow up any bell towers, it's probably somewhat difficult to film a massive superhero battle without doing a little bit of damage. If nothing else the crew and machinery required to film everything would have been massive. The town of Erice has been around for centuries and apparently wasn't interested in having a huge movie action scene take place in the middle of their town, so instead, the production team just copied the parts of the town they needed and rebuilt in on a stage in Australia. According production designer to Bill Bzeski...

At the end of the day, going to Italy and working in a historical town wasn't going to work for us if you're going to blow stuff up. So we built, literally, a whole portion of the town.

It appears that if you're familiar with Erice, Sicily, you might actually mistake what you see in Aquaman for the real place, because what was created by the crew is called a "perfect replica" of part of the actual town, in one of the special features attached to the new Blu-ray release of Aquaman.

It's too bad that Aquaman wasn't able to film in Italy. With all the time the production spent on stages it probably would have been nice to get out and be on location someplace. At the same time, I'm not sure you can fault the town for not wanting to see their historic home blown up.

Aquaman is available now on Digital HD and Blu-ray.

Dirk Libbey
Content Producer/Theme Park Beat

CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian, Dirk began writing for CinemaBlend as a freelancer in 2015 before joining the site full-time in 2018. He has previously held positions as a Staff Writer and Games Editor, but has more recently transformed his true passion into his job as the head of the site's Theme Park section. He has previously done freelance work for various gaming and technology sites. Prior to starting his second career as a writer he worked for 12 years in sales for various companies within the consumer electronics industry. He has a degree in political science from the University of California, Davis.  Is an armchair Imagineer, Epcot Stan, Future Club 33 Member.