'Aquaman' Director Explains How He Handled Underwater Talking

Aquaman is an unusual film in that so much of it takes place beneath the seas. Speaking to ComicBook.com, director James Wan explained how he approached underwater dialogue in the movie.

Wan says that, really, he just tried not to think about it too much.

"Going into this film, very early on, people keep asking me like, 'How are you going to do underwater talking? How are you going to do this and that?' And then it just occurred to me that it felt like people were overthinking it," Wan says. "I'm like, 'I'm just going to have them talk to one another.' Just talk like how you would talk. I imagine Atlanteans down there would talk in the same way that you and I talk on the surface and air world, right?

"But then having said that, I know that I wanted to give it somewhat of a water acoustic treatment to it and so we spent like throughout the entire post-production process designing the sound of it. And very early one, when we kind of played with the voice and futzed with the voice there were times that we kind of went too far and it was actually hard to understand what they were saying and we had to keep kind of pulling it back and pulling it back until we found that sweet spot."

While figuring out underwater dialogue may have been relatively simple for the director, the stars of the film previously explained that filming underwater scenes, particularly action scenes, was a bit more interesting.

"It's so weird! So weird," said Amber Heard, who plays Mera in the film. "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.

"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."

What do you think of how Aquaman is handling underwater scenes? Let us know in the comments!


Aquaman opens in theaters on December 21st.

Upcoming DC Extended Universe movies include Shazam on April 5, 2019, Birds of Prey (and the Fantabulous Emancipation of one Harley Quinn) on February 7, 2020, and Wonder Woman 1984 on June 5, 2020.