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Aquaman 2 Eases The Physical Toll On Its Cast With Improved Underwater Scenes

As is expected from a superhero named Aquaman (Jason Momoa), his feature film is virtually guaranteed to take place at some point underwater. Aside from his superhero moniker, the character, whose real name is Arthur Curry, is bound to his mother's home world of Atlantis, which he must fight to protect.

So far in most of his appearances in the former DC Extended Universe, there have been at least one or two scenes in which he must travel to the underwater kingdom, likely to converse with Mera (Amber Heard) and learn of plot points. Ignoring the jarring decision to use giant air bubbles in "Justice League," the subaqueous scenes in 2018's "Aquaman" look as they should in the mind's eyes of the audience. And because of that, most viewers don't even think twice about all the painstaking effort, especially from the cast, to execute those scenes. So director James Wan is going to make sure that fans are aware and reassure fans that they should be okay moving forward.

At Cinemacon 2022 (via Cinemablend), Wan appeared on the "Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" panel to discuss the upcoming sequel and was pretty quick to point out how difficult it was for the actors to film those sub-aquatic scenes. "On the first movie, we really put the actors through a lot of physical pain, you know hanging them on wires and what we call tuning forks," Wan elaborated. "It was not the most comfortable apparatus to be strapped into."

New tech helps eliminate any pain on the Aquaman actors and create new opportunities in filmmaking

The first "Aquaman" went for a practical approach and had the actors suspended with wires to create the illusion of floating. So while the method seems to be a tried and true way of achieving that effect, it's not very enjoyable for the actors. Not only are they performing, but they have to act like they're not in pain too.

Thankfully, fans should be relieved that the sequel will be utilizing new technology that helps eliminate any discomfort. According to director James Wan, there's a new process similar to motion capture where an actor's performance is recorded and used for a 3D render of themselves explaining, "With ["Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom"] we were able to now embrace new technology where we literally captured...literally putting like 100 cameras on the actors, capturing their performances and then taking what they do and then applying that to 3D versions of themselves." And these computer-generated actors will probably be rendered underwater. "It's less painful for the actors, which makes it easier for me as well, because they're not screaming and yelling at me..." he joked.

Wan also makes an intriguing point adding, "...but the most important thing is it really frees up the filmmaking to really do things I've never been able to do before. And that is exciting." Presumably, he means that the new tech allows him to do more since they are no longer limited to the actors' physical bodies. After all, you can manipulate a 3D avatar however you want.

"Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom" hits theaters on December 20, 2023.