James Wan: I hate being stereotyped

Published: Dec 20, 2018, 15:21 IST | IANS | Los Angeles

James Wan has been fighting against labels for long and is not afraid to challenge himself to defy perceptions

James Wan
James Wan

James Wan has been fighting against labels for long and is not afraid to challenge himself to defy perceptions. The filmmaker says he hates being stereotyped, and doesn't need any label to define his craft. "I hate being labelled. I hate being stereotyped into whatever pigeonhole people like to put me into," Wan told IANS in an exclusive interview here.

"So every time people start to (do that), I start moving on. When they labelled me with too much of this work, I went to something else. I keep doing it because, at the end of the day, I just see myself as a filmmaker. I don't think there needs to be another label in front of the 'filmmaker' label," added Wan while promoting his latest film "Aquaman" here.

He decided to expand his horizon when he got the tag of "horror movie maestro" after "Saw", "Insidious", "The Conjuring" and "Death Sentence". The Malaysia-born filmmaker took a break from the paranormal realm for the bigger world of "Furious 7" -- part of the "Fast and Furious" franchise.

"I can grow as a filmmaker by trying new things, finding stuff that challenges me and kind of continue expanding my horizons," said Wan, who grew up in Australia.

At present, Wan is getting plaudits for adding his touch to the fantastical story of Warner Bros project "Aquaman", which released in India on December 14.

Taking a character from the DC Extended Universe, "Aquaman" traces the origins of how half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) embraces his identity as the superhero. Along with a heart-warming tale of family and love, the film also focuses on a relevant message -- marine pollution.

Looking back at the process of making the film, he said: "There is always some kind of pressure when you are making big films... Films of this level, size and scope... But it was a really smooth process."

"Aquaman" might be a tale of a superhero finding his roots and identity, but it is also rooted in reality as Wan brings attention to the growing pollution in the ocean.

"It was something which was important for me from early on because I felt he was, for the first time, a superhero that can actually talk about the environment and the environment is such a big real life issue," the director said while explaining how he entwined the message into the story.

"It is only getting worse, as we see climate change affecting all of us. So it just naturally and organically became a part of the story."

But the cool thing, as Wan put, was that he got to portray it from the point of view of the villain King Orm, essayed by Patrick Wilson.

"You kind of understand why King Orm is angry at us for what we do at the surface and I think it gives it more texture."

How will the story go forward?

"I don't know. That is a question for the audience."

(Sugandha Rawal was in Manila on the invitation of Warner Bros. Pictures. She can be contacted at sugandha.r@ians.in)

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