After watching Justice League: War many were treated to the teaser that hinted at a certain Atlantean getting to be the lead in an upcoming animated film. Well, that time has come and hopefully by now you’ve seen the trailer for Justice League: Throne of Atlantis. The film that will continue where we left off in JL: War and give us an origin story for this version of Aquaman! So during a series of roundtable interviews Heath Corson (Screen Writer), Matt Lanter (Voice of Aquaman), Phil Bourassa (Character Designer), James Tucker (Producer), and Andrea Romano (Casting Director), gave us an inside look at the process and vision for Justice League: Throne of Atlantis.
First up was Screen Writer, Heath Corson who was just as excited as we were to talk about Aquaman! After a round of applause Heath began speaking on the challenges of bringing this version of Aquaman to the fans. He expressed that they wanted to “ground” this version of Aquaman making it more of an “Aquaman Begins”. He went on to say “He’s unaware of his heritage. He’s unaware of his Atlantean background. He’s a guy who doesn’t feel comfortable where he is right now.” Heath continued “He lives in a lighthouse with his father that he’s just lost. He is drawn to the water but has no idea who he really is or who he wants to be.” Heath also states that this was a very “relatable and emotional” place to start with the character. It was stressed that this film is loosely based on the storyline from the comic but the tweaks were necessary due to where we meet Arthur in his life in the film. There are also changes to his relationship with his mother and more specifically with his brother whom he comes to blows with. He jokingly went on to describe the family dynamics that will take place are on some “heavy duty Game of Thrones” stuff. He did announce that the King died during Darkseid’s attack and the surface world is blamed which is why some in Atlantis want to declare war. Corson went on to describe the Queen as a very strong and bold leader as well.
When the topic of who the actual villain is in the story Corson stated that the opposing factions “aren’t wrong” in their motives and it’s pretty much up to the audience to decide who they want to side with. Except for Black Manta. Black Manta is just bad. He was careful not to reveal too much though he did say that when we meet Aquaman he’s drunk and talking to a lobster. We were assured that this film was going to be bigger than Justice League: War in terms of the scope of the film. Grand battles, tsunamis, and the entire Earth is under attack. As far as what was started in the previous film with the Justice League, Corson said that the team dynamics will continue to carry over here. Batman and Green Lantern aren’t too fond of each other, Cyborg is still dealing with his transformation and further steps are taken with Superman and Wonder Woman’s relationship as well.
Next, we spoke with the Casting Director, Andrea Romano. She has been responsible for casting some fantastic voice actors over the years so we wanted to know what were the specifics that went into casting Matt as Aquaman. She told us that in the beginning Matt was mentioned and she said “he’s the right guy for the role.” and went on to fight for him to get it. She stressed that it didn’t have to be a celebrity in the role just the “right actor for the job.” When asked how she comes to that decision and finds the qualities she’s looking for she answered that “…almost always with these movies, before I start casting, there is artwork. So I can look at the character and go, ok, is this one of those enormously broad-shouldered, tapered waist, huge-thighed guys that has to have a voice that makes sense? Or is he slighter?” Romano gave an example of having Superman, Flash, and Green Lantern next to each other and being that they are physically different, being able to close her eyes and based on the voice, match it with the character.
She did stress that along with the sound the quality of acting is important along with being able to meet the vocal demands of the role as well. Saying, “When I’m bringing them in and auditioning them, they’ll come up with a really great raspy voice, that’s so interesting. I’ll ask, can you do that for four hours? Almost without exception they’ll say, ‘Oh yeah, sure, no problem.” But you get them into a session, two hours later they say, ‘Andrea, I cannot do this anymore.’ So I really have gotten to a point now that I demand of an actor, I’m going to make you do this for four hours. If you cannot do it, you must tell me. I will have so much more respect for you if you tell me the truth, and I will find something else for you. Do not damage your instrument! It’s a mistake, it’s just an amateur mistake, something that will affect your career.”
Since Aquaman was teased at the end of Justice League: War we asked if Matt had already been chosen for the role. First, she thanked me for sitting through the credits to see the teaser and stated that she hadn’t seen the script at that time and didn’t know what would be required of Aquaman. So she didn’t know what type of actor she needed or what vocal type she needed nor had she seen any of the artwork for him. From there she also spoke about casting Jerry O’ Connell as Superman saying, “Superman’s an interesting character in that he’s the Boy Scout, obviously, he can’t be too goodie two-shoes. There’s got to be strength behind that, there’s got to be conscious decision-making. Jerry’s such a good actor that I really thought he’d be able to bring that too him, and I think he does that in spades.”
Romano also went on to tease that in the film after the next one that she was able to get two actors she has been pursuing for ten years! She said, “Finally, I got them. And they are so good! They are so wonderful! It was a joy to work with them. But I am like a bulldog, I don’t let go. I’m going to keep going after them. Until they say stop, I don’t want to do this, then I’ll stop. But if they’re like, ‘I just can’t make it work this time,’ I’ll keep going after them.” Maybe by the end of Justice League: Throne of Atlantis we’ll get a hint as to what the next film is and the speculations can begin!
Stay vigilant for part two as we speak with the voice of Aquaman, Matt Lanter, along with Phil Bourassa, and James Tucker!