James Wan’s “Aquaman” is opening this weekend following record-breaking grosses internationally and more or less positive critical buzz (the film’s 71% on Rotten Tomatoes is a step up from other films in the DC Extended Universe), and no one is more surprised than “Entourage” creator Doug Ellin. In 2005, Ellin famously launched a fake “Aquaman” as part of the second season of his popular HBO comedy series. In the show’s world, actor Vincent Chase (Adrian Grenier) played the briny superhero.
“It’s so interesting to me now because the real movie does look like it’s going to be a huge hit and does look like they visualized it in a way that my brain could probably never do,” Ellin told Entertainment Weekly while revisiting the second season storyline. “I thought ‘Aquaman’ sounded like the most ridiculous movie in the world and, to me, the only way to make it work was if James Cameron was directing it.”
Ellin wrote in James Cameron as the director of his fake “Aquaman” simply because the show’s post-production supervisor, Janace Tashjian, had previously worked on projects with the legendary director. “She’s like, ‘What are you doing?’ I was like, ‘Well, you’ve got to go get him,'” Ellin said. “Like, it doesn’t work unless he’s directing it, because this movie would never get made. And it’s funny because obviously the last 10 years, even though ‘Spider-Man’ was the biggest movie ever then, it was almost like superhero movies had lost their shine. And now obviously 10 years later, every one of them is more successful than the last, and they all seem to work both commercially and critically.”
Writing in Cameron’s involvement with “Aquaman” drove Ellin to explore the film’s making during “Entourage” Season 2. The creator originally planned for the movie-within-the-show to bomb at the box office, but then Cameron actually contacted him to tell him otherwise.
“At the end of the season, he wrote me a letter,” Ellin said of Cameron. “My plan was for ‘Aquaman’ to bomb, and I got a letter from James Cameron — which I need to find because it’s amazing — but writing about why it couldn’t be a bomb and all this stuff, and it was genius. I loved him and his willingness to do this, and obviously he’s one of the great directors of all time, so [it was great] to have him take it seriously, which others started to do on the show, when things did or didn’t work.”
When asked what his first thoughts were when Warner Bros. announced Arthur Curry/Aquaman would be joining the DCEU, first in “Justice League” and then in his own standalone film, Ellin said it was “funny and cool.” “I don’t think for a second that we inspired it,” the creator said. “I think they see how well these movies are doing, and they’re probably going to make every single superhero that exists at some point until they stop working.”
Despite his disbelief, Ellin will certainly be buying a ticket. “The trailer looks great, and I’m hearing good things about it, so yeah, I’m 100-percent going to see it,” he said. “I’ll take my son to go check it out.”
Warner Bros. opens “Aquaman” in theaters nationwide December 21. Head over to Entertainment Weekly to read more from Ellin.