Peter Jackson Turned Down Directing Aquaman More Than Once

Jason Momoa in his Aquaman costume by a waterfall

When it was originally announced that James Wan was going to direct the first ever Aquaman movie, it actually made quite a bit of sense. The filmmaker not only had some tremendous success with the making and release of Furious 7 (his debut in the blockbuster realm), but also had established a great working relationship with Warner Bros. (specifically by launching The Conjuring Universe). That in mind, it may surprise you to learn that he apparently wasn't the studio's first choice for the gig, as Peter Jackson was originally pitched on the project... not once, but twice.

This revelation comes from the latest issue of Empire, though exactly how the subject came up in conversation with the filmmaker isn't entirely clear. The director apparently was pitched on the underwater superhero adventure by Former Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara - with whom he worked on theHobbit trilogy - and an attempt was apparently made twice because the executive seemingly forgot Peter Jackson's response the first time he was asked. Said the director,

[Former Warner Bros CEO Kevin Tsujihara] said, ‘Are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ‘No.’ Six months later: ‘Peter, are you a fan of Aquaman?’ I said, ’No, Kevin, I already told you this’

One can understand why Kevin Tsujihara was interested in having Peter Jackson make the Aquaman movie, given the fact that the filmmaker both has a lot of experience with giant blockbusters, and because he has a lot of ambition when it comes to the realm of visual and special effects - both of which were definitely needed in the making of the DC Extended Universe title. But apparently it just wasn't a job that appealed to Jackson, to the point where he shut down the opportunity twice.

So why did he turn down the gig? Apparently stories about costumed vigilantes just aren't really his thing - though he obviously doesn't have anything against the comic medium at large. After all, he had a major hand in developing Steven Spielberg's The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn as a producer. That, however, was very much a passion project for the New Zealand-born writer/director, and he simply didn't connect with the material that inspired Aquaman in the same way. He explained,

I’m not a superhero guy. I read Tintin… Look, films are hard. I only want to make something that I have a deep passion for.

As a result, things turned out quite well for James Wan, who did connect with the adventures of Arthur Curry and made a movie that reflects that. Aquaman not only ultimately got a warm reception from critics, but now stands as the highest grossing DC Comics adaptation of all time - making more than a billion dollars at the global box office.

So if he's not making superhero movies, what is Peter Jackson doing these days? Right now we can't say with any certainty what his next narrative feature will be, but a lot of his focus and attention as of late has been in the documentary realm. Last year we saw the release of They Shall Not Grow Old, which showcases immaculately restored footage from World War I, and right now he is working on a documentary about one of the greatest and most beloved bands in rock and roll history: The Beatles.

Being big fans of Peter Jackson's work , we here at CinemaBlend will update you with all the latest news about his developing projects - and also deliver the latest about what's happening with Aquaman on the big screen. So stay tuned!

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.