Let's Talk About That Racist Sea Monster Julie Andrews Voices in Aquaman For a Sec
Warning: spoilers for Aquaman ahead!
Just when I thought it wasn't possible to feel any more pumped for Aquaman, I found out that Julie Andrews would make an appearance in the movie. Entertainment Weekly broke the news that the Sound of Music and Mary Poppins actress would lend her voice to a mythical creature named Karathen, who plays a significant role in how Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) unifies the underwater kingdom of Atlantis with the surface world.
Now that I've seen Aquaman, I can confirm that she is indeed in the film and that the role of Karathen also happens to be the movie's most bizarre one. Like, really bizarre.
To give you some background on when her character comes into the plot, Aquaman and Mera spend most of their time on the hunt for an ancient trident that holds immense power, which just so happens to be guarded by Andrews's Karathen. As Aquaman attempts to retrieve the trident from its watery grave, Karathen (and all her massive tentacles!) rises from the deep and starts attacking him . . . with racist slurs.
I repeat: Julie Andrews. Hurling racist slurs. At Jason Momoa. Under the sea.
You see, Karathen is pissed that Aquaman doesn't have pure Atlantean blood — his mother, played by Nicole Kidman, is Atlantean, but his father is a human — and proceeds to inform him of that by repeatedly calling him a "mongrel" and "half-breed," all in her crisp British accent. Once Aquaman does get a hold of the trident, therefore cementing his place in Atlantis's royal lineage, Karathen finally backs down, but the memory of her wild dialogue will live in infamy forever (at least it will in my head).
So, how did this cameo come to be? Of wrangling the iconic actress — who has taken home an Oscar, two Emmys, and three Grammys over the course of her impressive career, as a reminder — to play such a character, Aquaman producer Peter Safran told Entertainment Weekly that they "wanted the Karathen to have the voice of a classic British actress, albeit somewhat digitally altered. . . . And when we found out Julie was interested and available and excited to do it, casting her was a no-brainer."
Aquaman hit theaters only two days after the Mary Poppins sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt. Although Dick Van Dyke returns for a new role, Andrews decided against making a cameo to keep the focus of the film on Blunt. Luckily she had the role of Karathen, an elite and racist sea monster, to keep her busy.
— Additional reporting by Brea Cubit