'Furious 7' Director James Wan Eyed for 'Aquaman' (Exclusive)
James Wan could go from racing on the streets to riding the currents of the ocean blue.
The director, hot off the smash opening of his Furious 7 ($392 million worldwide, but who’s counting?), is the frontrunner to direct Aquaman, Warner Bros.’ water-borne superhero movie centering on the classic DC Entertainment character, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Heat Vision breakdown
Wan has no offer at this stage but he is the studio's choice and some preliminary talks have taken place.
Jason Momoa is already attached to star as the underwater breathing hero and will make his appearance as the character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He also is card-carrying member of DC’s premiere superhero team, the Justice League, and will be part of Warners’ two part movies.
Aquaman, the standalone, is being developed on two tracks, with Will Beall and Kurt Johnstad writing separate scripts for the project.
There are several obstacles that any deal will face, the biggest one involving the sequel to Furious 7. That project does not have a director at this stage nor a release date but with a box office that has already crossed $500 million in under week, Universal will look to fill that seat soon.
While some believe that Wan will not return for the eighth installment of the Fast & Furious franchise, Universal does hold his option and could exercise it.
Also, Wan is already in prep for The Conjuring 2: The Enfield Poltergeist, which is due to shoot this fall. While Aquaman has a release date of July 27, 2018, a movie of this magnitude will take considerable work, and the studio is eager to get started.
One of Warner Bros.' challenges is to make a movie that will successfully sail the seas, on a critical level let alone a financial one. Despite being an iconic comic character and known around the world, Aquaman has found himself to be the butt of jokes in recent decades. Riding a sea horse in the classic Super Friends cartoon didn’t help but neither did episodes of Entourage which played an Aquaman movie for laughs. (Adrian Grenier’s character, actor Vincent Chase, portrays the hero in a fictional movie directed by James Cameron.)
If Wan does take on the King of Atlantis, it would mark the latest point in an incredible career trajectory. The director broke onto the film scene with low-budget horror, and for the most part, despite making slicker and slicker movies hasn't deviated from that path.
His feature debut was with Saw, launching the Lionsgate franchise. He also directed horror movies Insidious and its sequel, as well as the first Conjuring (which were not only hits but very profitable ones), before nabbing the coveted gig of helming Furious 7 after Justin Lin dropped out of the series. This fall's Conjuring 2 will be a return to his roots.
Warner Bros. is already high on Wan and wants to continue to be in business with him. Sister company New Line last year made a first-look deal with the Australian filmmaker and his Atomic Monster label to develop movies in the horror and sci-fi genres.
He is repped by Paradigm, Stacey Testro International and Myman Greenspan.
by Daniel Fienberg
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