Aquaman director James Wan has revealed how Dolph Lundgren ended up joining the Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe. The studio officially launched the DCEU last year with Zack Snyder’s Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, in which Jason Momoa made his brief debut as Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. The actor will be reprising his role in Snyder’s Justice League this fall alongside the rest of the world’s finest heroes: Superman (Henry Cavill), Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).
Following his full introduction in Justice League as the king of the seven seas, Momoa will headline his own solo Aquaman movie next year (the only DCEU movie on the docket set to release in 2018). The film co-stars Amber Heard as Mera and Willem Dafoe as Nuidis Vulko (both of which will first appear in Justice League), as well as Patrick Wilson as Ocean Master, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II as Black Manta, and Dolph Lundgren as King Nereus. Of all the people associated with the project, the person that most would find surprising is Lundgren, and now the film’s director has revealed how that casting came about.
In addition to filming Aquaman, Wan has been busy promoting the latest installment in his Conjuring franchise, Annabelle: Creation – and in an interview with THR, the director detailed the backstory behind Lundgren’s involvement with the upcoming comic book movie:
“When I was in the process of writing this character [King Nereus] in the world of Aquaman, a friend of mine, [director] Mike Mendez, was working with [Dolph Lundgren] on one of his films, and Mike was just raving about how great Dolph was. And I thought ‘Oh my god, Dolph would be great for this role as well!’ So it kinda came about from that roundabout way.”
The director also praised Lundgren’s regality, as well as his acting chops, which is something that many people may not give him enough credit for since he has previously established himself as an action star:
“He’s a really strong actor. I don’t think anyone gives him enough credit for how serious he actually takes his craft. He’s taking it very seriously on this film.”
The movie that Wan mentions was the low-budget action comedy Don’t Kill It, which released earlier this year. Lundgren never stopped making movies, but in recent years, he’s relegated himself to smaller films, with the sole exception of Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables series. Now, in addition to returning to blockbuster movies, the actor will apparently be returning to the Rocky franchise by appearing in Stallone’s upcoming Creed sequel. However, before he reprises his role as Ivan Drago, Lundgren will play the king of the underwater nation of Xebel in Aquaman next year.
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