Here's An Exclusive Look At The Aquaman Asian Press Conference And Fan Event In Manila
Just like magic, the Aquaman roadshow flew into Manila, charmed and stole the hearts of the Filipinos, and turned Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, and director James Wan into this week’s social media darlings. And well deserved to the three for doing so!
Friendly, amiable, and eager to please; the three fielded questions during the Press conference held at the Grand Hyatt Ballroom, then headed to MOA (now rechristened mo-MOA?) to meet and greet a jam-packed hall and grace a premiere of the film. As Manila is not traditionally a regular stop for these film junkets, it was a sure thing that Manila would give the three a major Manila welcome, and that we did.
James Wan, Amber Heard, and Jason Momoa gamely answered questions from the press with TV host Joey Mead King
During the freewheeling press conference, the three ambled on to the makeshift stage, posed for pictures and answered the queries thrown at them by the local press and a contingent of entertainment press coming from the region. Since opening last weekend in China, Aquaman has already amassed gross receipts of over $100 million; so the three, especially James Wan, were in a buoyant mood.
As for Jason, from the get go, he had the audience in the palm of his hands, as he declared that there were so many Filipinos back home in Hawaii, that he was feeling right at home; even if it was the first visit to the Philippines for all three of them. At that point, he could have announced that the world is flat, and the audience would have agreed. He loved how Arthur Curry/Aquaman comes from two worlds, and yet finds a way to be comfortable in both, and this resonated with him as it closely paralleled his own life.
Asked about how she viewed her character Mera, Amber Heard turned eloquent, waxing about how she agreed to the role because in discussions with James prior to filming, she was happy that, “Mera is a kickass heroine, a true driving force that’s essential to the narrative” - and not just a sidekick, or mere accessory/appendage to the storyline. In the past, that was often the fate of the female characters in this film genre. But thanks to films like Wonder Woman, there is a new awareness about how women can be portrayed in superhero films and she’s proud to be part of that new narrative. There are two new Marvel films in 2019 centered on female superheroes, and for Amber, it’s about time.
James Wan was visibly the most giddy and excited during the media event. Explaining how when he films, no matter whether it’s the horror genre or the superhero one, the most essential factor was making making the audience first care about the main characters. This was so that when the jump scares happen, or when their lives are in peril, we empathize. Riffing on what Jason had mentioned, James talked about how there was a common thread running between him, Jason and the Aquaman character. They all straddled two worlds while growing up, thanks to their parents coming from distinct races and worlds. But rather than thinking you were displaced, belonging to neither world, the solution was recognizing how you could be the best of the two worlds.
And the three chimed in when James made mention that with a film such as Aquaman, you couldn’t help but also have a strong message about the Environment. In creating this imaginary world beneath the waves, it was inevitable that themes on polluting the seas, and what we can do to stop this destruction, would be touched on. For the three, this was an important aspect of what we all should take away from having watched the film.
The three may have flown off to their next roadshow stop, but they’ve definitely left a lasting impression, and we can only hope they’ll be back soon.
Photos and video by Gian Escamillas