James Wan Admits Filming Aquaman Was ‘Painful’ For Jason Momoa And Co., But The Lost Kingdom Sounds Like A Whole Different Ball Game

The DC Extended Universe had a bumpy start, but James Wan’s Aquaman proved that the burgeoning shared universe was capable of. The DC adventure was a critical and box office success, while the Saw filmmaker debuted cutting edge new technology to give the cast a sense of underwater weightlessness on screen. Wan admits that filming the first Aquaman was “painful” for Jason Momoa and company, but The Lost Kingdom sounds like a whole different ball game.

This week is CinemaCon, and a number of highly anticipated blockbusters (including upcoming DC movies) have debuted footage and revealed thrilling tidbits of information. Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is no exception, with CinemaBlend in attendance as James Wan revealed he found new ways to film the cast that doesn’t require them to do as much intense (and painful) wirework. As the visionary filmmaker explained to the crowd,

On the first movie, we really put the actors through a lot of physical pain, you know hanging them on wires and what we call tuning forks. It was not the most comfortable apparatus to be strapped into. With this film we were able to now embrace new technology where we literally captured…literally putting like 100 cameras on the actors, capturing their performances and then taking what they do and then applying that to 3D version of themselves.

They say that if it’s not broken don’t fix it. But that’s exactly what James Wan and the crew of Aquaman did ahead of filming The Lost Kingdom. Specifically a ton of cameras were used to help bring the cast of the movie “underwater” more easily. We’ll just have to wait and see how this new innovation helps the sequel’s mysterious story.

Later in that same panel at CinemaCon, James Wan explained how the new technology positively affected the experience of his cast like Amber Heard, Jason Momoa, and Dolph Lundgren. Given how notoriously grueling film sets are, this was likely some exciting news for those aforementioned stars. As he explained,

It’s less painful for the actors, which makes it easier for me as well, because they’re not screaming and yelling at me… but the most important thing is it really frees up the filmmaking to really do things I’ve never been able to do before. And that is exciting.

Once again innovation is key to the filming process for the Aquaman franchise. The efforts and painful wirework was ultimately successful in the 2018 original movie, paired with extensive visual effects. But James Wan wants to go deeper with the sequel (literally), and the new way of filming seemingly made it easier on everyone.

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is currently expected to arrive in theaters on March 17th, 2023. In the meantime, check out the 2022 movie release dates to plan your next movie experience. 

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. 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. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.