Malaysian-born Australian director James Wan visited Sarawak last year for the first time in 20 years.
“That’s where I was born. I had to go back and reacquaint myself with distant family members and just to see and experience what had changed,” he shares about what inspired him to make the visit after so many years.
The director said he also needed to take a breather from work: “It was a good break. I wanted a change of culture. I’ve been working so hard in Hollywood and I just wanted to get away for a while.”
Born in Kuching, Sarawak, Wan and his family moved to Perth, Australia when he was seven.
“I remember the food,” he says about his memories of growing up in Malaysia. “I remember that I loved durian, which was one of my favourite things. I know that freaks people out but I love it and I love rambutans and all these tropical fruits, and I love laksa. I also remember celebrating Chinese New Year.”
The 39-year-old director first came into the spotlight with horror slasher film Saw in 2004, which spawned six sequels and launched the torture porn genre.
In recent years, Wan has been experiencing immense success in both the horror genre with the Insidious film series and The Conjuring as well as last year’s action-packed blockbuster Furious 7.
The latter earned US$1.5bil (RM6.12bil) globally, making it one of the highest grossing movies of all time.
Asked if he has thought of filming in Malaysia, Wan responds: “If the location calls for it, it’d be amazing. When I was visiting Malaysia recently, I thought it’d be amazing to shoot something in the forest or beaches.
“Something beautiful, nothing scary.”
Wan is working on DC Comic’s Aquaman next. “It’s a very unique character. There’s a reason that it’s a superhero character that you haven’t seen until now because it’s a really hard story to tell.
“A big chunk of the story takes place underwater. We never had that kind of technology to work with until now,” he shares what he thinks will set Aquaman apart.
“Because of that, it has a different flavour (compared) to all the other superhero movies, it takes place in its own world and it has its own visual. So if anything it feels more like an action-adventure pirate story.”