You don't have to be the King of Atlantis or even breathe underwater to visit Atlantis. Aquaman fans can now get up close and personal with Arthur Curry, Mera, Black Manta and all the other characters from the latest DC film in a new exhibit at the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. DC Universe: The Exhibit, a segment of the tour devoted to DC’s foray into movies, has expanded to include costumes, props and set recreations from Aquaman.
"This exhibit is unbelievable," Aquaman producer Peter Safran told reporters at the grand opening earlier this week after an authentic Haka performance wowed the crowd. "We put so much blood, sweat, tears, creativity and craftsmanship into building this wardrobe, building these props, building these sets. And the fact that the audiences and the public get to see the detail that went into it, which is so rare. To get to see the craftsmanship that really went into it is a beautiful thing."
Adding that he's "thrilled" for fans to get the chance to see the magic of the film come to life in person, Safran continued, "When I walked in there today, I felt like I was back on the set in Australia where we shot it."
Photo by Charley Gallay
As you first walk into the DC exhibit on the Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, you're immediately drawn into the world of Atlantis with a statue of Jason Momoa in all his Aquaman glory. As epic as his iconic gold and green costume appeared on the big screen when he emerged as the fully-realized King of the Seven Seas, it's even more impressive seeing it in person.
"When you walk in and you see Momoa in the hero gold and green outfit with the waterfall behind him, I will never forget the day that we shot it on set where he walked through the water," Safran said, reminiscing on filming that instantly iconic moment. "It was the first time the crew, the cast, that anybody had seen him in that gold and green and he comes in with his trident and he plants it in the rock right there, and you're like, 'This is just a winner. This is fantastic.' I get chills thinking about it today."
The new Aquaman exhibit also brings to life some of the other costumes from the movie, including those worn by Mera, Vulko, King Orm, Queen Atlanna and Tom Curry, plus the Trench creatures (which are even more terrifying in person!) and more. And fans also have the chance to take a photo sitting on the King Atlan's throne from the movie to become King or Queen of Atlantis themselves. The Trident next to the throne that fans can hold for photos is actually the one that Momoa broke at the Aquaman Paris premiere. But don't worry, it has since been repaired and is back in action at the exhibit.
Photo by Charley Gallay
For Safran, seeing the costumes and set recreations just reminded him of how much it took to make this movie come to life.
"When I walked in and I saw Black Manta, the detail with which James Wan [gave it] in conjunction with Kym Barrett, our wardrobe designer, and the people who fabricated the costume, the detail that went into every curve and sinew of the accoutrements that are on that part of that wardrobe, it's all right there for people to see it," he says. "It's extraordinary the quality of work that went into it."
But above all, Safran knows that a great movie is more than just costumes and sets and CGI. He explains that it's because Aquaman is "a great human story" that it has been such a success.
"It's about a man searching for his place in the world and searching for his place in life and trying to understand his family. That core element was essential," Safran says. "Built on top of that is the great thrill ride. The action's fantastic, the humor is terrific and I think the key to the success of any of these kinds of movies is the actor you've cast in the lead. In the same way that Gal Gadot is so perfect as Wonder Woman, Jason just embodies Aquaman."
Photo by Charley Gallay
Safran says that it's the "authenticity" in how Momoa really became Aquaman that was the secret ingredient of the film.
"He is Arthur Curry," Safran adds. "Jason is also from two worlds. Jason is from Hawaii, but also grew up in Iowa, and he never felt at home in either place. He was a stranger in both places. Arthur Curry, of the land, but also of the sea, was never really sure where he belonged. Jason brought those feelings that he had growing up, not sure of where he belonged, to the role. That close marriage between actor and role is the authenticity that the audiences felt when they saw it, and I think that's why they embraced it so beautifully."
And while Aquaman has officially been greenlit for a sequel, it won't be debuting in theaters anytime soon. That's why Safran hopes that fans walking though the exhibit think, "'I can't wait for December 2022, when the Aquaman sequel comes out.'" He laughs, then adds, "Hopefully this will give them a little bit of a taste to whet their appetite before 2022."
See the Aquaman exhibit as well as props and costumes from other DC films on the Warner Bros. Studio Tour Hollywood. Tickets are available by clicking here.