Momoa & Heard speak from the Aquaman set, plus scene description
Jason Momoa and Amber Heard stand in a barren, dry temple. The scene they’re currently filming for Aquaman may be in a sound stage in Australia, but the context of the scene has it set in the Saharra Desert, the last place one would expect an Aquaman movie to travel to. The next solo movie in the DCEU is a huge globe-hopping adventure, and the comparisons by the filmmakers to Raiders of the Lost Ark and Romancing the Stone are pretty spot on.
“I was drawn to the script because it didn’t sacrifice one element in order to achieve the other,” Heard tells us on the set. “It’s as much adventure as it is classic superheroes, as it maintains elements of rom-com. I mean, it has all of these elements, and of course done by a horror master. So I really like that our film kind of respects all these different genres.”
The pair find themselves in this dry location because they’re on a quest to find an artifact, the King’s Trident. In fact, this place is where the Trident was created. Aquaman needs it in his quest to take down his half-brother Orm aka Ocean Master (co-star Patrick Wilson), and Mera is along for the ride. Though fans may know that they two are lovebirds in the pages of DC Comics, they don’t start that way in the new film, and things might get testy at times.
“It does not rely on this whole damsel in distress formulaic thing we see all the time, we’ve seen a million times,” she says. “He doesn’t rescue the girl and then save the world. In fact, I save him. Like I said, they go on this adventure as equal partners and they end it that way. There is an element of attraction there, but it is not the thing — because they have a job to do, they have a mission to fulfill and are equal partners in the success or failure of that mission, that takes a back seat to this. Their relationship, that element is not the driving force or what brings them together.”
Back in the scene, the pair approach a small well, but it being dry from the desert makes it, and its hidden messages, in accessible.
“It’s completely dried out,” Momoa’s Aquaman says, venting his frustration.
Heard waves her hands around Momoa’s head. It looks funny on set, but when you see the finished project you’ll be able to tell she’s using her hydrokinesis to pull water from Arthur’s hair. She deposits it in the bowl and the message begins to play. It’s a long one, but it closes: “Only a true king can wield the trident.”
Heard’s Mera takes charge, “We can’t let Orm find this.” She smashes the artifact leaving the message lost to the ages.
Momoa’s Aquaman tries to react but he’s too late. “Whoa, whoa, whoa….Don’t you think you should have written it down or something?”
“I memorized it, didn’t you?” she quips.
“Something, something,” Momoa mumbles. “Something, trident.”
Though the upcoming Aquaman is very much a James Wan movie, Momoa is still bringing along some of the directions he was given by Zack Snyder when the pair were conceiving of the character years ago.
“I want Outlaw Josey Wales, I want the outsider, I want more than Batman the loner,” Momoa says, quoting Snyder, on the Aquaman set.
Though loners may be a recurring motif for the DCEU’s heroes, Momoa says that Aquaman is still cut from a different cloth than Superman or Batman.
“You can’t sit down and have a beer with Superman, you know what I mean? You can’t,” the actor says about the difference in his hero and the other icons of the DCEU. “I wanted Aquaman blue collar. He’s raised with his dad, worked on bikes, worked on old cars with his father and at a certain age he’s given this gift. He doesn’t know how to deal with it.”
There’s no denying that this was a role that Momoa was born to play. It’s a character that he instantly connected with, and he’s as a confident as anyone that the film will work. When asked how the Aquaman movie will be something that hasn’t been done, he boasts:
“I wouldn’t really say there’s necessarily something that hasn’t been done, I think everything’s kinda been done. The only thing different is I’m amazing and I’ll probably do it better than anyone else. Maybe.”
Aquaman will surface on December 21.