Aquaman On Blu-Ray: 14 Things We Learned From The Special Features
Now that Aquaman has been released on Blu-ray and digital, it gives you plenty of chances to rewatch what is clearly the craziest entry in the DC Extended Universe--from dinosaurs to epic underwater fights. That's not all you can do, though.
The home release of Aquaman is loaded with special features that give you a lot of insight into the making of the film. Maybe even too much insight. How does Aquaman poop? Guess what, director James Wan thought about it so you don't have to.
If you don't have time to dig through the special features of Aquaman, never fear! We did and gathered the 14 most interesting facts from the various behind-the-scenes featurettes. Prepare to learn more than you'll ever need to about Aquaman, Atlantis, and just about everything else in the film.
After you soak up all of this new Aquaman interview, get yourself ready for the next major DC release with our review of Shazam. Believe it or not, it is the best DCEU movie yet.
1. The underwater creatures were essentially mechanical bulls
The actors would actually be sitting on mechanical "bucks," which would then be puppeteered to mimic the movements of whatever the characters were riding. "We're able to replace that buck with a CG version of our shark and have it marry up to what the camera is doing, all in real-time," virtual production supervisor Eric Carney explained.
2. Many sets were built using virtual reality
"VR is making a big impact on this film," draftsman Benjamin Donnelly explained. "We can look around sets in a virtual space to make design decisions."
3. It's not just CGI at work
There were plenty of practical effects used in the film, including a number of instances of real water--which can be tricky with such an elaborate film. "The challenge is creating this underwater world in a dry environment," director of photography Don Burgess admitted.
4. The way they crashed the truck in a tsunami is impressive
While it would have been easy to rely on a complete CGI rendering of a tsunami overtaking a truck being driven by Aquaman, the film's crew instead tried to recreate it in the real world by putting an actual truck on a spit and spinning and submerging it in water. "It was an eccentric spinning car," special effects supervisor Brian Cox said. "It spins 360 [degrees]."
5. Jason Momoa played a big role in casting his on-screen dad
When it came to casting Thomas Curry, Arthur's dad, Momoa had one name in mind. "When we talked to Jason about who he saw as his father, he just immediately wanted Temuera [Morrison]," executive producer Rob Cowan revealed.
"I love him. It's always been a dream to work with him," Momoa explained. "Ever since I saw Once Were Warriors, he was the guy I looked up to."
6. James Wan had a hand in everything, including weapon design
One of the reasons director James Wan was drawn to the project was that he got to create an entire world with Atlantis. To that end, he was a part of everything, right down to helping with weapon design.
"I'm a very hands-on designer," he said. "I love drawing things myself. And so I'll get in there, be behind their shoulders and kind of go, 'Oh, you know, what if we draw the trident more like this?'"
7. James Wan definitely thought about how Atlanteans use the bathroom
In creating the world of Aquaman, Wan had a lot to figure out. "As a director, I try to put myself in the shoe of Atlanteans and go, 'What is a day in the life of an Atlantean look like? How do they eat? How do they sleep? How do they use the bathroom?' You have to think about all of that stuff," he explained.
We'd rather not think about it.
8. They used trays of water to make lighting more realistic
So much of Aquaman takes place underwater, which presented an interesting challenge with lighting. Luckily, they came up with a creative solution. "There's a whole way that light travels through water," director of photography Don Burgess said. "So we tried to emulate that. We actually build water trays above us to try to manipulate light so that is actually feels like you're underwater."
9. Yes, the hair is CGI
It should come as no surprise that the floating hair underwater was created digitally. After all, since they weren't actually drowning the cast, they had to get that wavy quality somewhere. The process, though, was more difficult than anyone expected.
"I don't think anyone appreciated how difficult it was going to be," visual effects supervisor Kelvin McIlwain admitted. "In an underwater environment, all the hair just sort of tends to do its own thing. And this created incredible computational hurdles to overcome. [Industrial Light & Magic] actually rewrote their software trying to design this."
10. The way they filmed the swimming scenes is insane
To achieve the scenes of swimming underwater, each actor required a team of people in blue suits to guiding them, plenty of wires suspending them, and a massive spinning arm they were attached to.
11. Manta's shirtless scene was added after James Wan said how in-shape the actor got
When Yahya Abdul-Mateen II got cast to play Black Manta in the movie, he set out to get in shape. What else would you do after finding out you're going to spend months fighting Jason Momoa. However, he got so ripped that director James Wan actually wrote a shirtless scene into the movie.
"We did a screen test [and] James said, 'Hey, let's zip that down and let's just get some shots,'" Abdul-Mateen remembered. "So I zipped it down. I came back a couple days later and he said, 'Hey man, I think the shirt's got to come off. We gotta do some rewrites."
12. The submarine interior is made out of rubber
While this makes perfect sense, the fact that the movie's crew molded so much of the inside of the submarine out of rubber to allow Aquaman to smash people into it is impressive. "We've gotten very good at molding rubber things," production designer Bill Brzeski joked.
13. James Wan always wanted Nicole Kidman as Atlanna
For director James Wan, there was only ever one person he considered to play Queen Atlanna. "Nicole was my one and only choice," he admitted. "I've wanted to work with Nicole for a very long time. I think the world of her." He was so sure this role should go to Kidman, that the crew even used her as the basis of their concept art for the character.
14. They had to build the bar from scratch
When it came time to find a location to use as the Amnesty Bay bar set, the film's crew wouldn't locate a place that didn't overlook an Australian city. So, naturally, they just built one instead. And, of course, passersby assumed it was a real bar.
"Since we put the signs up, we had locals pulling up," set decorator Bev Dunn said.