‘Aquaman’ Stars Describe Filming Underwater Scenes

Filming Aquaman presents a unique challenge for both the filmmakers and the movie’s stars like Jason Momoa and Amber Heard. The challenge comes from filming underwater scenes, but the film’s Atlantis isn’t actually built beneath the sea.

The film’s underwater scenes are actually filmed in the air with the actors hanging on wires. During a press visit to the Aquaman set, Amber Heard described what that felt like.

“It’s so weird! So weird,” Heard said, laughing. “I mean, sometimes you have to just step back and look at your life and realize that you are a grown-ass woman attached to two wires being fished around by a bunch of men in bright blue micro-onesies. And you just have to accept it and laugh.”

As to whether it actually feels like swimming in the ocean, Heard says “No, not at all” and admits that those kinds of shoots require putting a lot of trust in the team effort.

It’s scary, but you have to find moments of truth in the absurdity,” she says. “And that’s part of what’s great about working with the actors and working with real pros like Jason and working with Patrick [Wilson], Willem [Dafoe]. It’s the small moments of truth that are universal to us as humans that you latch into in these huge, complex, larger-than-life sequences. And you latch on to those small moments of honest, universal truth, basic things we can latch onto.

“Some of my friends tease me, saying I’m wet in every single movie. They joke and I’m like, ‘Yeah, well, it’s called being in your twenties and being an actress.’ I’ve survived my entire twenties acting, of course, but in this movie, I’m perhaps the driest. All of the underwater stuff I’m dry for. We have wig caps on and they have to actually make diffused mattifier on my skin, and I have to be dry for reasons that I could not explain to you visual-wise. However, for all the scenes where we’re on land or in air bubbles, which is a thing, they have to completely soak me down. So sometimes part of my routine at work is I show up and get hosed down. This happens throughout a day of filming the same scene because it takes so long to shoot these enormously complex scenes. There are many days when I spend my entire day, every 15 minutes, getting hosed down! And it’s still the driest I’ve been in a movie.”

Momoa added, “I love the fact that we haven’t been underwater and what we showed at Comic-Con was just showing that when the $#!+ hits the fan it’s going to be like Star Wars underwater. It’s cool! I’m a huge f***in’ Star Wars fan and I’ll never be anything remotely as good as Indiana Jones, but we can sure as f*** try! I mean, I’ll never ever, ever beat him, but if we’re modeling after that, then, great, I’ll do my best. It’s something good to strive for.”

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Aquaman opens on December 21st.

Other upcoming DC Extended Universe movies include Wonder Woman 1984 on November 1, 2019, Shazam on April 5, 2019, Cyborg in 2020, and Green Lantern Corps in 2020.