Despite existing in two very different genres, Patrick Wilson, who stars as Arthur Curry's half-brother King Orm in Aquaman, compared the fish-out-of-water DC movie to two of director James Wan's previous franchises: The Conjuring and Insidious. This will be the third film franchise that Wilson has worked on with Wan, and the actor was able to pinpoint a distinct through line connecting all three.
Wan's live-action Aquaman adaptation may be a superhero movie, but that's not to say it isn't sprinkled with some of the director's usual trademarks. In fact, even though it can hardly be considered a horror film - despite a few scenes in particular that walk a fine line between action blockbusters and old-fashioned monster movies - Wilson was able to thread some similarities between Wan's recent superhero outing and his previous two horror franchises. Though neither The Conjuring or Insidious feature underwater worlds, fantastical sea creatures, or superheroes-in-the-making, they're not completely dissimilar.
During an Aquaman junket interview with Screen Rant, Wilson opened up about his experiences working with Wan over the years and how his experience on Aquaman wasn't too different from his work on movies like The Conjuring or Insidious. In fact, he pointed out that, at the core of Wan's films, there's typically a running underlying theme masked with whichever genre it happens to be inhabiting. He said:
"If you look at all of his films, too, there's all this- he knows that it comes down to character and story. And, whatever the device is, or the medium, or the genre, it doesn't even matter. I mean, literally, with Insidious or Conjuring or Aquaman, they're all sort of strange family dramas; they're just told through different devices. Because I think that's what people- you know, you see a character in peril, you see what's wrong with them... 'Oh, I wish they can work it out.' Whether it's this or a horror movie."
Wan's unique approach to his movies may well be what distinguishes him so much from other horror directors. In fact, aside from the sort of themes he tends to play with in his films, his technical abilities didn't go unnoticed by yet another member of the cast prior to filming. Willem Dafoe recently commented on the fact that Wan was a major influence in his decision to join the movie, citing the director's enthusiasm, precision, and ability to take control of a set - even one as big as Aquaman's.
Though family drama is a popular component in most movies, Wan's filmography is especially filled with struggles that give other family woes a run for their money. Lawrence Gordon (Cary Elwes) is literally faced with life-or-death decisions in Saw in part because he was cheating on his wife, Nick Hume (Kevin Bacon) doesn't just seek revenge for his son's death in Death Sentence, but must protect his family as a result of said vengeance, and The Conjuring doesn't just follow one family haunted by the supernatural, but two. In fact, though Wan may not lean on subtlety very often in his films, which has been a divisive factor for some audiences, his attention to detail with human drama has been the one true elevating factor throughout his entire career, well into Aquaman.
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018