Jeff Nichols Talks Turning Down “Aquaman”

“Take Shelter” and “Mud” filmmaker Jeff Nichols, out doing promotional rounds for his new film “Midnight Special,” has spoken about that time when he was in serious consideration to helm the standalone “Aquaman” movie at Warner Bros. Pictures.

“Saw” and “Furious 7” director James Wan ultimately landed the gig, but back in late 2014 the hack of Sony Pictures led to the news that Nichols was in talks to direct the Jason Momoa-led DC Comics adaptation. Speaking with ScreenCrush this week, Nichols revealed why he ultimately didn’t want to be a part of the DC Extended Universe:

“But, you know [sighs] the trick with ‘Midnight Special’ is even though it was made at the studio [Warner Bros.], they gave me a lot of control over the process. And I don’t just mean control over final cut, but it felt like we were making one of my movies. I had my team. I had my family there. My crew. We made the movie we all wanted to make.

With the DC universe, so many parts of it had been activated and so many decisions had already been made that it felt more and more – and Warner Bros. agreed – that it was me trying to jump on a moving train. That’s not so much what I’m good at. I’m more of a ground up kinda guy.”

Nichols’ comments echo that of “Selma” director Ava DuVernay who turned down Marvel’s “Black Panther” for similar reasons. The filmmaker does say he loves the idea of the DCEU, but he just isn’t interested in helming a film that’s a part of a bigger plan:

“[I]t’s all a connected universe. And it should be. I was a huge comic book nerd, so I know all these characters and they all need to be beautifully webbed together. I was just far enough on the outside that I could develop things in a vacuum all day long but it wasn’t going to line up with everything they had planned.”

“Midnight Special” is slated to open in cinemas next week.