The director of Mud and Take Shelter wanted to explore the older Aquaman who was a fallen king, but he feels it wouldn’t have made money.
This week saw the release of the trailer for The Bikeriders. The new biker drama comes from Jeff Nichols, whose credits include heavy indies like Mud and Take Shelter. In the famed Sony email hack of 2014, it was revealed that before hiring James Wan, Warner Bros. had been in talks with Nichols for helming the Jason Momoa Aquaman solo film. Wan’s vision proved to be a successful one, as the 2018 Aquaman film would gross $1.1 billion globally. However, Nichols, a veteran of dark character drama, reveals what his own vision entailed.
According to Variety, Nichols outlined some of his ideas on the Happy Sad Confused podcast while promoting the premiere of The Bikeriders at the Telluride Film Festival. The director admits that his concept may not have grossed a billion like Wan’s. “I still have scenes from [Aquaman] in my head that would’ve been good. They would’ve been quite different from the film that was made. It wasn’t ever feasible…I liked the older Aquaman, like when he had a harpoon for a hand. He was a fallen king and his son had died. He was in mourning. Obviously from this brief pitch you can see it would’ve sold hundreds of dollars worth of tickets.”
Nichols continues, “That stuff is fun to noodle on, but we got a lot of those movies now. There are a lot of stories in the world. It’s ok to spend time time telling some other ones.” While Nichols’ pitch didn’t stick the landing, he would go on to make another drama titled Loving, which was Oscar-nominated. While he didn’t get to helm Aquaman, the IP that Nichols felt more emotional about was his Alien Nation remake that fell through. “On the Alien Nation front, that was a heartbreaker. That’s one of the reasons it’s taken me so long to make another film. I spent four years on that. We were at the one yard line. I had it cast and we had it ready to go, but the universe didn’t want me to make that right then. That was an original story I crafted and they wanted to put the Alien Nation title on it. Fortunately that script without the title has gone over to Paramount. After the strike lifts, I can get back to work on it.”
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/aquaman-jeff-nichols/