A few years back, James Wan was offered the opportunity to select 2 DC superhero films – either “The Flash” or “Aquaman”. He went with the latter and the rest is history.
While promoting the recently-released blockbuster, the director opened up about how his upbringing sort of dictated his decision-making. Wan was also able to incorporate a part of his Chinese heritage in the movie.
There was 1 scene where Aquaman was on a quest to retrieve the Lost Trident of Atlan. Many fans could recall something similar from “Journey to the West” when the Monkey King was required to enter the Dragon King’s underwater palace to get hold of his golden staff.
In speaking with China.org, the 41-year-old filmmaker admitted that the 16th century classic has always been an inspiration growing up. “I am of Chinese descent, so I have heard many Chinese stories as I grew up. I have always liked ‘Journey to the West’ and The Monkey King Sun Wukong, and was influenced by these Chinese elements when I was filming,” he said.
Wan also revealed that he could identify with Aquaman’s personal struggles in being caught between 2 worlds and cultures. “The character of Aquaman himself – he’s the very definition of bi-racial. He’s half-Atlantean, half surface-dweller. You have a character here who feels like he doesn’t belong in either world to begin with, and that was something that really stood out for me,” he was quoted as saying.
“What he ultimately discovers and realises is (that) he is the best of both worlds and he ends up embracing his identity. That’s something that, as I grew older, something that I’ve embraced more,” Wan explained, before adding, “Having such a strong Australian upbringing, I’ve retained my Chinese/Malaysian heritage as well“.
For those that don’t know, Wan was born in Kuching, Sarawak. However, he and his family moved to Perth, Australia when he was 7. As one of Malaysia’s biggest Hollywood success story by a mile, Wan has used his Malaysian-Chinese “immigrant-style hustle” to craft out his own successful lane in the entertainment industry.
“Aquaman” is currently showing in cinemas.