‘Swamp Thing’ star Derek Mears ‘loved working’ with Malaysian-born filmmaker James Wan on the DC superhero horror series (VIDEO)

Mears stars as the DC superhero Swamp Thing in the horror series of the same name. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV
Mears stars as the DC superhero Swamp Thing in the horror series of the same name. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV

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KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 6 ― Swamp Thing actor Derek Mears only has good things to say about Malaysian-born Australian director James Wan.

Wan is one of the executive producers of the DC Universe superhero horror series that’s set to premiere this week in Asia.

Best known for horror franchises such as The Conjuring and Saw, Wan lent his expertise to film the first appearance of Swamp Thing emerging from the water for a teaser of the character.

“I love working with James,” Mears told Malay Mail.

“Throughout my experience of running into him like red carpets or different parties, he was such a kind, honest and gentle man.

“So when I got to work with him, watching his excitement behind the camera of filming Swamp Thing was so infectious and it was so fun talking ideas of the character.”

Set in the swamps outside Marais, Louisiana, CDC investigator and former Marais native Dr Abby Arcane (Crystal Reed) is sent to investigate a mysterious illness that strikes the town.

But when a mysterious creature emerges from the murky marsh, she finds herself facing the nightmares of a supernatural world where no one is safe.

Transforming into the beloved DC creature by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson, Mears said the makeup was extraordinary.

“Throughout my career, I’ve worn so many different prosthetic suits, pieces, worked with so many talented artists but the design and application of what Fractured FX created for Swamp Thing is the best I’ve ever worn thus far,” he said.

The 48-year-old added that it wasn’t the most comfortable uniform to wear especially during emotional scenes as it was very hot under the suit.

“Your body is freaking out because you’re manic, as Swamp Thing is dealing with a different existential crisis.

“It’s difficult but it’s so satisfying when you look at the screen to see how beautiful this piece of art that I get to wear is captured on screen,” he said.

Mears said the application process initially took four hours each day before filming but he credited the artists for reducing the process to two hours.

More than just a creature surfacing from dark, watery depths, the classic comic character has evolved to mean different things for various groups of audiences since the character’s creation in the early ‘70s, from marginalised communities to eco-warriors.

The 48-year-old called the costume design a work of art and the best he’s ever worn in his career. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV
The 48-year-old called the costume design a work of art and the best he’s ever worn in his career. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV

“People of different races or genders and sexual orientations would relate so much to the character because at certain points of their lives feeling like outcasts or not accepted for who they are that they could relate to his existential crisis of being trapped inside this monster of a body,” he said.

Knowing there’s an entire group of fans who are continuing to contribute to Swamp Thing’s mythos coupled with the responsibility of honouring the spirit of an iconic role, Mears used this to help him understand the character.

Having been diagnosed with alopecia when he was 11 which led to his hair falling out, Mears knows what it’s like being an outsider, especially in the department of unintentionally scaring people with his appearance, much like the title character.

He recalls workers behind fast food counters who would tremble when they took his order.

“I never wanted to scare people that way so for the longest time, I adopted a more animated personality where my voice got much higher.

“I learned over the years that when it’s time, to kind of let the monster out of the cage because I look one way but inside I’m in a different place, similar to Swamp Thing where he’s trying to figure out who he is and accept who he is,” Mears said.

Perhaps more relevant than ever, despite being filmed in November 2018, audiences will no doubt realise how uncannily reminiscent the show is in the face of a global pandemic.

“It’s very strange, there’s so many different points with the current world with the environmental crisis, with acceptance for who people are or whatever their sexuality or race is and the Covid crisis.

“There are so many different layers to this story that I don’t know if they’re intentional or not but they’re really ringing true especially during this crazy time in our world,” Mears said.

Swamp Thing debuts on Wednesday, October 7 at 9.50pm on Warner TV (Astro Ch 712 HD / UnifiTV Ch 451).

From the environmental crisis to Covid-19 and identity politics, Mears said the show has themes that reflect our current reality. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV
From the environmental crisis to Covid-19 and identity politics, Mears said the show has themes that reflect our current reality. ― Picture courtesy of Warner TV

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