Updated: Apr 28, 2021
NAME: 溫子仁 (Wēn Zǐrén) a.k.a JAMES WAN
Best known as James? James who? James Wan! Although quite assuming at a glance, there is no chance you haven’t watched or at least heard of one of the horror films he has worked on. Saw? Insidious? Annabelle comes home? Oh, come on.
THE CONJURING? Ok no?
How about Fast and Furious 7? Aquaman? Now you've got it!
The scale of Notoriety (how well-known they are) | Scale of Influence (how much they’ve impacted the world)
6/10. But His films? 10/10. Too bad people don’t often see his name unless you stay behind at the cinemas for that bop of an ending theme while the credit role.
For the Bagrat Team, James Wan is definitely an 11 out of 10! Of all the celebrities we have tagged, the Creepy Puppet actually reacted to our post about him! #respect
In Mortal Kombat mode! K.O! Followed by triple punch combo in The Black City. Hint: Aquaman 2's working title)
The billion-dollar film director James Wan had won the ‘Best Guerilla Film’ at the age of 23. He then went on to co-write the script for Saw with his friend from university, Leigh Whannell. Ultimately leading to his first full-length debut film earning a box office of $103 USD million from the box office.
His career didn’t just stop there. Since then, James’s future projects, including founding his film production company, Atomic Monster Productions and working on hit titles such as Fast and Furious 7 had led James to win 14 film awards on top of an additional 13 more nominations.
Nationality: Malaysian-born Australian
Born in 26th February of 1977, James was born in Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia from his parents of chinese descent. At the age of 7, James and his parents moved to Perth and received education in Perth until he went to College in Canberra for Year 11 and Year 12. He eventually moved to Melbourne to attend RMIT to study a Bachelor of Arts in Media in 1998, at the age of 21 - kickstarting his billion dollar career.
But James’s asian-ness definitely doesn’t end here. James often mentioned that his mission with his movies are to ‘smash stereotypes’ - which includes casting actors, cast and crew of colour.
Being a Malaysian-Australian, he says in an interview with Junkee that his earlier films such as Saw, The Conjuring and Insidious had flavours from stories he had grown up with. These include local Australian horror stories along with Chinese and Malaysian horror stories he had grown up hearing.
So not only is he that great Asian role model your mum always tells you about, he’s achieved Hollywood-status director straight out of university AND and advocate for Asian achievers. WOW.
Hit films: James is also the first Australian director to hit one billion dollars in the box office.
That Asian guy: James is the first ASIAN director to have both one AND two films hit billion-dollar in box office
Multicultural: James married a German Romanian Actress Ingrid Bisu - talk about multicultural!
Sticks to his guns: Dreamworks originally offered to fund the project under the sense that Wan would lose creative control of his project, which he refused.
Creator of his own weakness: Despite being a massively popular film director, James is extremely squeamish and can’t handle blood and gore - a fear which he uses in his own movies.
Quite unremarkable: said the International Film Festival at Toronto, rejecting Wan’s film Insidious - the film that went on to be the most profitable film in 2011.
The uni student life: When Wan and Whannell created Saw, Wan was out of cash for nearly half a year at the time and admits at Whannell paid for the whole thing. Feels bro.
Being a film director: I mean duh. His debut film Saw is the second highest-grossing film in the United States. In History.
Crunch Time Genius: As the envy of all uni students, parts of SAW were taken from the rehearsals due to the lack of takes from the low-budget. Imagine making millions with that first draft.
Arts and Craft Genius: Saw’s famous mascot, Billy the puppet was created by Wan himself using papier-mache, clay and black ping-pong balls for the eyes.
Nadya Labiba is an Indonesian-Australian currently in her fourth year of Journalism and Languages and Cultures at University of Technology Sydney. Aside from interning at Captain Bagrat, Nadya is an avid community volunteer and a published contributor at Central News.
Bevin Liu is an ABC (Australian-born Chinese) in every sense of the word. Thinking that her life was set on a law degree, she is now going into the third year of her undergraduate degree in Journalism and International Studies (Majoring in China). On top of occasionally dropping into Captain Bagrats, she is working as a journalist for a regional newspaper, as the planning editor for Central News and trying to balance it with her new responsibilities as a member of UTS’s Academic Board. She would dabble in her love for animals and strange things through the university’s Cat Society and StartUp Link in her spare time.