In a recent interview with Screencrush , director Jeff Nichols discussed his early talks with Warner Bros about potentially directing ‘Aquaman‘ for their DC Cinematic Universe, and why he ended up choosing not to take the role, and instead focus on his own movies, such as the upcoming film ‘Midnight Special.’ In explaining his decision to not direct ‘Aquaman,’ Nichols had the following to say:
“The trick with ‘Midnight Special’ is even though it was made at the studio, they gave me a lot of control over the process. And I don’t just mean control over final cut, but it felt like we were making one of my movies. I had my team. I had my family there. My crew. We made the movie we all wanted to make. With the DC universe, so many parts of it had been activated and so many decisions had already been made that it felt more and more — and Warner Bros. agreed — that it was me trying to jump on a moving train. That’s not so much what I’m good at. I’m more of a ground up kinda guy…It’s all a connected universe. And it should be. And I was an advocate of that. The decisions that Zack (Snyder) is going to make in Batman vs. Superman, those all connect to things that are going to happen in Justice League and all that. And I was a huge comic book nerd, so I know all these characters and they all need to be beautifully webbed together. I was just far enough on the outside that I could develop things in a vacuum all day long but it wasn’t going to line up with everything they had planned.”
Of course, the whole reason why Nichols was even in talks to be a director of one of the DC superhero movies was also in question, but as Nichols explains in another interview with The Playlist:
“We talked about it, but I was at Warner Brothers at a period of time when they were activating this entire DC universe and they had already slated all these films that didn’t have filmmakers. So it would have been odd to have been a director at Warner Brothers then and not get into some conversation about [those projects].”
Personally, I do not blame the man for wanting to make his own movies, where he is not forced plots, character designs, and character arcs from higher aboves, trying to craft movies all to fit their big picture. While Marvel has had a lot of success with that formula, in the beginning at least they still allowed their directors a certain freedom, and it feels like Warner Bros does not have time for that kind of craft. They are interested in cranking out these movies quickly, ensuring they all fit their grand design, which can be stifling for creatives, especially for someone like Nichols who is used to having a certain amount of freedom in the director’s chair. And since the only movie he was offered was ‘Aquaman,’ who can blame him for turning it down? I mean, good for James Wan for taking on the role of directing ‘Aquaman,’ but there is no way that film is anyone’s first choice of superhero movie to make, and there is a lot of work to do to refute decades of ‘Aquaman’ jokes and dislike, never mind the fact that a good portion of what they film will be underwater, which can be a nightmare, even if you do most of it digitally.
Are you looking forward to an ‘Aquaman’ movie? Do you blame Nichols for not being interested in directing the film? Share your thoughts in the comments below!