Check out our coverage on the “Aquaman” press conference in NYC!
Aquaman, the latest movie from DC is to be released later this month. To kick off the release, Warner Bros. rented the second floor of the Four Seasons in downtown Manhattan to host a press conference with the cast and director. The entire conference room was decorated with an underwater theme, showcasing props and costumes from the movie and even a booth that to put you right in the trailer! The most striking piece they displayed was a life-like replica of Jason Momoa as Aquaman created by Madam Tussauds Orlando. It was so striking, in fact, that Jason Momoa himself was taken aback in awe when he first entered the room!
The panel consisted of James Wan (director), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Amber Heard (Mera), and Patrick Wilson (Orm). Check out their thoughts and experiences on filming and creating “Aquaman”!
Q: How cool was it, Jason, seeing yourself for the first time in the costume?
Jason Momoa: My first experience wearing the suit was really beautiful. I’ve actually never told James this, but I put it on and I didn’t have a mirror in wardrobe. I put it on and I come out of wardrobe and I get to see his face, and he’s always passionate and he always lets you know right away, but the absolute joy – he looked like a kid when he beamed. He just looked like “I did it, he looks amazing!” He was super proud. He didn’t say anything but I could see it on his face. It was a really beautiful moment. The second moment was when I FaceTimed my kids– and I took a picture of it too- but their eyes were just blown away! So those are my two first experiences putting it on.
Q: So Jason, what I love about this character is that he is from two worlds, and you are from two worlds; you were born in Hawaii and grew up in Iowa. How personal was it to play this character?
Jason Momoa: I mean, we’re actors, so it’s not really necessary. To play Drogo (Game of Thrones), I don’t have to go through what Drogo did to become him. But the cool thing is just being able to relate as someone who is half truly two different cultures and each one of those cultures not knowing about the other one. Hawaii definitely doesn’t know anything about Iowa and Iowa doesn’t know anything about Hawaii, so that was something I could draw upon. You know, the other thing that helped me out a lot was being raised by a single parent. I just had me and my mother my whole life, which I could play for me and my father being that close and then running very far away, and then coming back to my roots. That’s definitely a relatable thing.
Q: Amber, Mera is incredibly fierce and a total badass. What are you most proud of in terms of this character in the way she was written and the way you portrayed her?
Amber Heard: Well, I feel really lucky to have worked with filmmakers and people who wanted to maintain the integrity of the strength of the original character. Mera is and never wasn’t anything other than a badass and a superhero in her own right. She is no damsel in distress. I’m lucky that I worked with people that wanted to maintain that integrity instead of compromising all of those aspects of strength, integrity, individuality, and agency, for palatability and sexuality and other things that can sometimes take the place of those aspects which are far more interesting to me. Mera is a kickass, badass woman and doesn’t need any help from anyone and I feel really lucky I get to play her.
Q: Patrick, what I love about Orm is the complexity of his character. This is a guy that’s a bit maniacal, a bit power hungry, but he also, sort of, has a point. Your destroying the oceans, stop doing that! What was it like playing both sides of that? Do you feel like he is one over the other or is he a little bit of both?
Patrick Wilson: Well, his fight is perfectly understandable. There is a long history of Aquaman fighting whales and saving fishermen all throughout comic history. I like that they left the pollution up to Orm because it enables you to have a real violent response. I think there is something sort of cathartic in an audience watching that. I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t think we were destroying the oceans, of course, we are and of course, it’s something we all need to take heed and to watch. Not that that’s the main theme of the story, but certainly that’s Orm’s track when he sets out to combine his armies to take on the surface. Everybody goes “yeah, I get that.” So it’s a fun way in because then you’ve got conflict. Then you sort of wonder; he’s the little brother of an older brother he’s never had and he knows deep down he is the first born, and there’s all of that very Shakespearian complex emotions that he’s dealing with. But you start him from a very organic place, then you can go as big as you want, which we do.
Q: For James, what was the first moment you really felt like Aquaman, and for James, why Jason as Aquaman?
Jason Momoa: I definitely feel that it was in “Justice League” where I’m sitting in a bat-mobile, sitting there staring at Affleck and Wonder Woman and I’m like, “I’m… Sitting…On a bat-mobile. THIS IS THE COOLEST THING EVER!” And my kids were looking at me the same way too, so that definitely sunk in on “Justice League”.
James Wan: For me, what I think is so great about Jason playing this role ultimately is, he brings his personality to this character. Not bringing him to Aquaman, but bring Aquaman to him, and that’s what I love most about it. I get to be the one to showcase the other side of Jason Momoa that not many people have seen; which is the fun side, the funny side of him, and I think, after the movie comes out, people are going to see how great a potential romantic lead he is as well. But I think that’s what’s great. Jason just comes in and he just makes a statement with this character, and I think that’s what this first movie really needs.
Q: What were the biggest challenges for the stunts and how did you prepare?
Amber Heard: I trained for a long time but I realized way too long into filming that I had been training for five to six months at this point and it’s the most covered I’ve ever been. He’s the one (Jason) who’s topless all the time. But I trained for a long time and with just how large the scale of the movie is requires so many different teams and participants. Sometimes we would be in the lunch tent and you’d look around and see four or five doubles of yourself that are required on various sets. It’s just so massive in scale to make a movie like this. I did work my ass off, but I am very thankful to the stunt team and the crew we had.
Patrick Wilson: Yeah the stunt team was absolutely unbelievable. Everything that we do in this movie, we were just pushed to the limits in every department. So you had stunt guys that were saying “Wow, I’ve never been in four different types of harnesses in one day.” And you know when your stunt team, that, by the way, does superhero movies for a living- when they’re saying that, you know you’re in uncharted waters, forgive the pun. And I think we’re all like that. Jason’s done stunts his whole life here and his whole professional career.
Jason Momoa: This was the hardest to date.
Patrick Wilson: Yeah, the hardest to date, for everything. And I would even go a step further and say, at least in stunts, you’re talking about a matter of seconds in doing one specific action, thirty-forty times. What I found even stranger was for so much of our stuff, you have to hang in wires or different harnesses or devices for minutes at a time, just to talk and try to make it seem effortless, like you’re floating in space. That weirdly took its toll even more so to me because it was just a constant state of dangling. It’s a very weird thing.
Jason Momoa: I was like “I don’t want to get back in, watch this. See I can do the whole scene close up!” You just have to learn how to cry, “ *sobbing* I don’t want to go! Don’t put me back up there!”
Amber Heard: He would literally be like “Put me down! Put me down!”
Q: I know that you’ve probably done other movies where you had to work with water before, but so much of this movie had water effects. I was wondering, as a director, what were the difficulties that you ran into in this movie that you haven’t done on a different set?
James Wan: Well, you hear it all the time from filmmakers that make movies with water. It’s not the most pleasant thing. It’s uncomfortable and really just slows down the whole filmmaking process. The irony is, any of the stuff that is fully submerged underwater, anything that is in the sort of underwater world, that was actually shot dry for wet. That’s literally what it sounds like, where you use the process of dry for wet, which is where we shoot, as these actors have said, in these rigs that simulate swimming and floating. But, we did play with a lot of water as well. I don’t think you can make an Aquaman movie and actually not have anyone get wet. And again, the irony is, when we are actually above the water, that’s when we have to drench the actors because when they are actually out of the water, that’s when they are dripping water. But when you’re underwater, the irony is, people actually look dry, so that’s why we shot it without water. But, I would say that the biggest water set that we had in this film was the submarine sequence at the start of the film; that was a huge set piece. We built the submarine over a water tank that we would just submerge again and again and again. We would play out the scene, we would submerge it, and then we would bring it back out of the water tank, blow dry it down, and then do take 2 and then take 3 and so on. It was quite a laborious process and yeah, it’s a bit of a pain.
Aquaman comes out in theaters December 21st, check out the trailer below!