James Wan dives deep into Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom — and the DCU's changing tides
"This is definitely behind the curtain!" Nicole Kidman remarks as she stops by to greet EW on the set of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom. The shoot for the sequel to the 2018 DC blockbuster, which starred Jason Momoa as water-fueled superhero Arthur Curry, is taking place at London's Leavesden Studios one afternoon in October 2021. While the sequence is full of potential spoilers about the titular Lost Kingdom and a mysterious and powerful "Black Trident," Kidman is actually referring to the weather. The filming of today's exterior scene is an almost all-star affair, featuring Momoa alongside Kidman's Atlanna, Patrick Wilson's Orm, Amber Heard's Mera, Dolph Lundgren's King Nereus, and a ball on a stick representing the CG character of the giant crab known as the Brine King. The setting is a tropical island, not at all comparable to the rainy and wind-swept day that actually surrounds them in the U.K. — which has prompted the Hours Oscar winner to set off her character's crown with a less obviously regal black puffy coat. "Everyone's been telling me, 'You should have been here last year. Last year, the summer was great!'" franchise director James Wan says later in the day, which marks the 80th of the film's shoot. "I had no summer at all. My god!" Unhelpful English weather aside, spirits seem high on set among the principals tasked with making this follow-up to Aquaman, a bona fide blockbuster that grossed $1.1 billion around the world and remains DC's most commercially successful movie. Even though Wan admits directing a superhero film during a pandemic is an exhausting process, he too seems content with the way matters are proceeding. "Making movies is tough enough, making a massive tentpole film is even harder. Throw on top of that a life-threatening pandemic just takes it to a whole different level," he says. "But we've been shooting for a while now, and it's been a pretty smooth process." It is fair to say that, in the almost two years since EW's set visit, the smooth sailing of Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom has been interrupted by choppy waters. The film was initially due to arrive in theaters last December and then, for a spell, was supposed to come out ahead of Warner Bros.' multiverse odyssey The Flash, but is now hitting theaters on Dec. 20, thanks to various COVID-19-caused delays and calendar reshuffles. Not to mention, the course of the DC Universe has fundamentally changed: Aquaman producer Peter Safran is now co-captaining the studio's upcoming slate of movies and shows with The Suicide Squad director James Gunn — which may or may not include more Aquaman. Reports have also surfaced about intensive reshoots on The Lost Kingdom, while one of its stars, Heard, had been embroiled in a highly publicized defamation trial with ex-husband Johnny Depp. When EW catches up with Wan earlier this week, via Zoom, the director can't help but admit that a lot has changed in the world of DC since that rainy day in London 23 months prior. "Obviously, I have to be mindful," he says. "If I'm living in a house, and the house is getting renovated around me, it's hard for me to not take notice, because the roof, the ceiling's missing, right? But the beauty of this movie, this Aquaman world, is that, very early on, we always said that we are our own separate universe. My goal was always: If we could spin off a Seven Kingdoms universe, that would be my ideal dream. So, what we do, ultimately, doesn't get affected by all that stuff, all that noise."
Via: Entertainment Weekly