Music is a critical part of any movie, but when it comes to superhero films the score is almost a character itself with the music not just setting the tone its use helping tell the story right along with the actors and characters on the screen.
With how a movie sounds being so important, when a movie is as dependent on visual effects as the underwater world of Aquaman is, getting the musical landscape of the film right can be a bit more of a challenge. For Aquaman composer Rupert Gregson-Williams, that meant working closely with director James Wan as well as digging deep into his back of musical tricks.
Gregson-Williams told ComicBook.com at Aquaman's Hollywood premiere that spending time with Wan to get an understanding of his vision and the film's scope was a critical component in creating how it sounds.
"First of all you've got to spend a lot of time with the director and get a vision of the characters and the scope and the size because a movie like this has a lot of visual effects so some of the epic arrival of Atlantis when you first get there for the first time when I first watched it wasn't of the size and scope that it is now so I had to imagine that, so that's the first thing," Gregson-Williams said. "But like you said in your question, there's a whole breadth and width to the sound and I try to emulate that with synthesizers. I used a lot of synths. I kind of went back to my roots. I had to get a whole bunch of cobwebs off of a bunch of instruments, dust them off and get them in the studio and that actually provided a lot of fun. James and I could experiment together."
Gregson-Williams, who previously created the score for another DCEU film, Wonder Woman, had an additional challenge of making sure that the characters, particularly Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) had sounds that worked for them, sounds that took a little time to create.
"There's a sound I created in the score that rises up and it's sort of anytime Arthur does something or every time he arrives somewhere in Atlantis and that took me a few days to create just that one sound, but James and I had a lot of fun creating it together which gave us a bond at the beginning really," he said.
There was also the matter of making sure that the sounds reflected not just the action of the film -- which includes a scene that ComicBook.com's Brandon Davis described as being as "an epic action sequence for an introduction to the hero’s true strengths" -- but the honesty of the characters. This was particularly important when creating music for the hero who isn't always the most confident at all points in the film.
"A lot of these battles are different for Arthur throughout as Aquaman without giving any of the plot away," he said. "I mean, he's not always indestructible in all of them ... with the music, you've got to reflect that. I can't always be sort of, I mean Jason [Momoa], I know Jason and he's pretty rock and roll so it's quite difficult not to write something massively confident like he is, but he's not always in the film."1comments
Aquaman is directed by James Wan and stars Jason Momoa (Arthur/Aquaman), Amber Heard (Mera), Nicole Kidman (Queen Atlanna), Patrick Wilson (Orm/Ocean Master), Willem Dafoe (Nuidis Vulko), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), Ludi Lin (Murk), Dolph Lundgren (King Nereus), Djimon Hounsou (The Fisherman King), Natalia Safran (Fisherman Queen), and Michael Beach (Jesse Kane).
Aquaman lands in theaters on Friday, Dec. 21st, 2018.