A week or two ago The Onion A.V. Club posted an interview with actor Lou Diamond Phillips, most famous for his work in La Bamba and Young Guns. But of course, Mr. Phillips also appeared in the failed Aquaman pilot, Mercy Reef, so I was curious to see if he would be asked and/or comment about that particular role. Sure enough:
"Aquaman (2007)—'Tom Curry'
LDP: I can't even speak to that very much, because I've never seen it. Everything pointed to the fact that that project should've been a slam-dunk. It was from the creators of Smallville. The CW was going to rebrand and launch their new network, and it just seemed to be such a great calling card to have a big, slick project like that. So to me, it was a no-brainer. We had filmed the pilot in Miami, and it went beautifully. And I'm literally waiting for a call to go to the upfronts, and not until the day before do we get the call saying, 'Well, we’re not going to pick it up.' And it was devastating to me.
I had real high hopes for the project. And when something like that happens, I don't even bother to watch it, because it's just too painful. It's like, 'My God, what could've been…' And it ended up being literally the number-one download for two weeks once it became available on iTunes, so I was like, 'Do you see? It would've had an audience. It would’ve been a hit.' But they blinked and were afraid to pull the trigger. So it's just one of those things that I chalk up to…it's one of the reasons why I’ll never understand the industry."
In fact, it was Phillips who brought his role in Aquaman up first, in response to an earlier question about another failed show he was on:
"It isn't always a slam-dunk, no matter how good it is…cough, cough, Aquaman pilot. [Laughs.]"
Obviously we'll never know how good a show Aquaman/Mercy Reef could have been. I had some issues with the pilot, but at the same time if it had been a Smallville-sized hit, I think we'd be talking about an Aquaman movie as a When, not an If.