Jeff Nichols Says His ‘Aquaman’ Pitch Was Never ‘Feasible’ at DC

Jeff Nichols didn’t waste time treading water when it came to his “Aquaman” pitch to Warner Bros.

Back in 2014, Nichols was approached to helm the DCU installment after his success on indie films “Take Shelter” and “Mud.” However, according to Nichols, his concept for “Aquaman” was not “ever feasible” due to its darker storylines.

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“I still have scenes from [‘Aquaman’] in my head that would’ve been good,” Nichols said on the “Happy Sad Confused” podcast, below. “They would’ve been quite different from the film that was made. It wasn’t ever feasible.”

The “Bikeriders” writer-director continued, “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.”

“Aquaman” starring Jason Momoa was eventually directed by James Wan and released in 2018. A sequel is set to be released later in 2023. But Nichols isn’t looking to dive into the pool of comic book IP anytime soon.

“That stuff is fun to noodle on, but we’ve got a lot of those movies now,” Nichols said. “There are a lot of stories in the world. It’s OK to spend time time telling some other ones…The only power you have as a filmmaker is your ability to sense those things and step back from it and hopefully the universe is watching out for you.”

Nichols additionally relived his “heartbreaker” shelved film “Alien Nation,” which he spent four years adapting.

“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,” Nichols said. “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… It might cost a lot of money. It might be the worst experience of my life, but I’d love to make that film.”

Check out Nichols’ exclusive interview with IndieWire’s Anne Thompson about casting Austin Butler, Tom Hardy, and Jodie Comer in Telluride breakout film “The Bikeriders” here.

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