James Wan is a star that's been on the rise for quite some time. It began quietly with the success of low-budget horror series SAW, and it reached its zenith when he sat in the seat vacated by Justin Lin and made the global smash FURIOUS 7. Regardless of what you think of his horror credits- one of which has a sequel (THE CONJURING 2) opening this weekend- he's shown that he knows how to make bankable films about concepts that appeal to mass audiences. His track record makes him, undoubtedly, the most successful director in the DC Extended Universe.
With production and promotion for THE CONJURING 2 officially coming to an end this weekend, Wan will soon turn his sights onto his DC project- a little film called AQUAMAN. The funny thing is Warner Bros. has undergone a lot of shapeshifting behind the scenes while he was away working on his ever-growing slate of films for which he plays the alternating roles of producer, writer, and director. The folks he was going to work with in a creative capacity, had he started work on AQUAMAN say four months ago, are very different than the ones he'll be dealing with now.
Wan was recently asked about all of the tweaks, changes, and shifts in power over at the WB's DC Films division. For his part, he acknowledges that a lot of it has had very little effect on him, since he hasn't been there with his boots on the ground up until now. To him, the traction all of these stories are getting seems a bit overblown, since it's mainly on the executive level.
"To be honest, it’s not as dramatic as the press is making it out to be – from what I’m seeing. And right now I’m seeing everything as more an outsider looking into this box. So from that perspective, it’s really cool that it’s not crazy, crazy dramatic. I think it’s great. Geoff Johns is super talented, super smart. Part of what got me excited about the Aquaman character is his re-envisioning of Aquaman, the character, with The New 52. And that’s super exciting. And I’m working very closely with him, and I want to work with him very closely to shape the story that I want to tell."
Had he started pre-production on AQUAMAN as recently as March, the man he'd likely be working with in a creative capacity is Zack Snyder. Snyder cast his star for him, designed the character's look, introduced him to audiences in BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, will continue his arc in JUSTICE LEAGUE, and- for a time- was considered to be DC's architect for their Extended Universe of films. Wan's answer above highlights the most notable of all of the changes that have taken place: Now, instead of collaborating closely with Snyder, he's working side-by-side with Geoff Johns.
Wan maintains that the shake-ups have had little impact on him, and drives the point home again that he's been an outsider on all of this stuff until now.
"Whatever these 'shake-ups' are, I don’t actually see them. If anything, like anything to do with my fricking career, I read about them in the trades, I read them all over the internet! And people are asking me this and I’m like, ‘Huh? What?’ [laughs] Just like I found out all these things. And so I’m not privy to necessarily what’s going – partially because I was so busy with trying to finish up Conjuring 2."
So this is all very encouraging, because it looks like Wan- just by mere happenstance- was able to leapfrog over the behind-the-scenes drama that hit Warner Bros. in the wake of the disappointing BATMAN V SUPERMAN. He hasn't really been around since he signed on to direct AQUAMAN, and he's coming back into the fold after all the alterations have been made, so he doesn't have to deal with any of it. And he's working with Johns, which means he's dealing directly with a gateway into the world of DC Comics.
It's going to be interesting to watch Wan continue to expand his range. While he was pigeonholed early on as some sort of "torture porn" horror director, he's managed to successfully touch on several more nuanced sub-genres within the genre of horror. And with FURIOUS 7, he not only demonstrated that he can direct top-tier action sequences with ample amounts of lightness and humor, but that he- as a director- could deal with the most dramatic thing that could happen on a film set: One of your stars dying in the middle of production.
It'll be fun and interesting to see what he does with AQUAMAN, a character that- to mainstream audiences- is badly in need of a makeover. That began in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, and will hopefully come to a head when AQUAMAN comes out on July 27, 2018.
SOURCE: Cinema Blend