James Wan: biography
James Wan is an Australian director known for the iconic horror Saw: he worked on the parts of this thriller as a director, producer, and scriptwriter. Wan is also famous for the horror franchises Insidious and The Conjuring with its spin-off Annabelle. Today, the director continues to work on new movies of the franchises.
James Wan is not only a master of horror but also a Hollywood action movie director; he seems to be good at everything. The man created two projects pertaining to the most expensive franchises in this genre: Furious 7 about car races and Aquaman from the DC Extended Universe.
James Wan was born on February 27, 1977, in Malaysia. His parents were ethnic Chinese, and Wan inherited the features typical of this people.
When James was seven, the family moved to Australia. The young man attended Lake Tuggeranong College. After the graduation, he moved to Melbourne to enter Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and study movie-making: he had been interested in it since his childhood. As a student, he met Leigh Whannell; this meeting predetermined his further career.
Together with Whannell, Wan created the script for the horror Saw; they made a short movie based on it. This debut influenced James’s life: his teacher was so impressed by the work that he decided to send the movie to Hollywood. In fact, he did not hope to receive the feedback and forgot about it soon. Several months later, Hollywood invited James Wan to work as a director.
Throughout his career, Wan has directed dozens of full-length movies; more than a half of them are horrors. The director melded with this genre, although he does not believe in supernatural phenomena.
James Wan debuted in 2000 with the low-budget short movie Stygian that told the story of a couple who got into another world. In 2004, he debuted as a feature-movie director and presented Saw. Producers believed in this project and did not limit the thriller with common standards: the young directors had the opportunity to do anything they wanted. The preparation for the shooting took five days. The directors did not organize rehearsals: the actors had to play on the spot.
The premiere proved to be a tremendous success: the movie budget was $1 million while the box office exceeded $55 million. Besides, Saw introduced a new character and a new image: a mysterious, frightening puppet doll; later, it was copied and referred to by many movie makers.
The next year, the second part of the movie was released. The story about the maniac Jigsaw, a dying man, continues. He rarely murders his victims: people are placed in such conditions that they either commit suicide or kill each other.
2006 brought the third part full of references to the first movie and set after the end of Saw II. The main character, locked in a room, comes to his senses; the audience can see it is the same room as in the first movie of the franchise. Besides, the victim is confined by the same chain as the poor characters in Saw. Simultaneously, there are several new elements: the maniac gets a partner whose actions are not coordinated with those of the madman. More than that, the final is unexpected: Jigsaw dies.
Following the success of Saw, Wan started making Dead Silence. Unfortunately, the project was a commercial failure. The director took a break for several years and returned to the favorite genre several years later.
2007 was marked with a new Saw movie. Fans could hardly expect that: the main antagonist had died. However, the directors did not resurrect the antihero. The movie begins with the scene in a morgue. In a voice record, the maniac claims that the game is not finished with his death.
In 2010, James Wan presented the first part of Insidious. He realized that his name and movies would be associated with blood on the screen, but he did not mind that. Wan wanted to create the scariest movie in the previous decade. The main character, Elise Rainier, is a medium, a famous fighter against ghosts who can go to the astral plane and battle supernatural creatures there; she appeared in the next parts of the franchise as well. Lin Shaye got the role of Elise.
In 2013, James presented two projects. In July, The Conjuring came out; in September, Insidious: Chapter 2 was released. Critics welcomed both works; they called the latter movie almost ideal and emphasized that the director did not have to reinvent the wheel: it was only necessary to use the existing means skillfully, just as Wan did.
Insidious: Chapter 2 tells the story of two mediums hired by the families who suffer from the evil presence in their houses. At this time, the exorcist couple is in the center of the audience’s attention. It is interesting that Ed and Lorraine Warren (Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga) are real people who investigate paranormal phenomena.
The movie was not much successful: it was definitely worse than the first part, and the backstory looked dull. Many viewers had forgotten what the first movie was about.
The 2015 movie Furious 7 became the director’s next project. The next year, Wan came back to horrors and began to work on The Conjuring 2.
There is no information about James Wan’s personal life and relationships. Sometimes, actresses and models accompany him at social events.
The director keeps saying he is busy with work and avoids questions related to his personal life.
James Wan has a Twitter account which is completely different from his movies. There is nothing gloomy and mystic there: he prefers to post and repost light seascapes and other beautiful pictures.
In 2017, Jigsaw, the eighth part of the horror movie series, came out. The story is set ten years after the maniac John Kramer’s death.
The same year, the prequel of Annabelle was released. Unlike the majority of the projects where new movies are usually worse than the first works, Annabelle: Creation proved to be successful. Critics appreciated the atmosphere and acting and emphasized it was better than the first part.
In May 2017, James Wan began to shoot the superhero action movie Aquaman, the sixth movie of the DC Extended Universe. It is the story of the descent and life of Aquaman who stands out for his ability to breath underwater, communicate with fish and other sea inhabitants, and even control the ocean. Jason Momoa played the main character.
In January 2018, James Wan presented another horror: the sequel of the popular movie series Insidious: The Last Key.
Besides, the horror The Nun, the spin-off of The Conjuring 2, was released in 2018. The movie shows how the mysterious creature, the nun, appeared. After The Conjuring 2, she became popular among the audience. As James Wan saw this response, he decided to create a special movie about this monster.
- 2000 - Stygian
- 2004 – Saw
- 2007 - Death Sentence
- 2007 - Dead Silence
- 2010 - Insidious
- 2013 - The Conjuring
- 2014 - Annabelle
- 2015 - Demonic
- 2015 – Furious 7
- 2016 – Lights Out
- 2017 – Jigsaw
- 2017 - Annabelle: Creation
- 2018 - Insidious: The Last Key
- 2018 – The Nun