Aquaman Jason Momoa: Zack Snyder told me I was auditioning for Batman
American actor Jason Momoa shot to stardom with the role of Khal Drogo in the popular American period drama, Game Of Thrones. Now, he is all set to become a household name with his stint as Aquaman, in the upcoming film Justice League, which will see the 38-year-old share the screen with Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, and Henry Cavill, among others. An excited Momoa reveals that he didn’t know he was auditioning for the role of the superhero, and talks in detail about his role in the upcoming film. Excerpts:
How was it like when director Zack Snyder first approached you about playing Arthur Curry/Aquaman and reinventing this iconic superhero for a new generation?
When Zack first approached me, it was a bit of a mystery because when I went in for the audition, he wanted me to read for Batman – and Ben [Affleck] had already been cast in the role by that point. So, I knew something fishy was going on and just read the lines with a lot of attitude, like I didn’t care what was on the page [laughs]! And then Zack said to me, ‘Do you know who I want you to play?’ I said, ‘Oh, yeah, I’ll be a villain or some bad dude who comes in and fights Batman – sounds like fun.’ He said, ‘I want you to play Aquaman.’
Do you relate to Aquaman as a superhero?
Zack told me that he wanted the Aquaman in this film, to be an outsider. I was born in Hawaii and raised in Iowa, and basically grew up an outsider, so I could definitely identify with that. I also liked that Arthur is a half-breed – half-Atlantean and half-human – a superhero who is part of two worlds but doesn’t belong to either. Aquaman’s mythology also resonated with me because we have water gods in our culture – and that goes for many islands. That’s why it feels like such an honour to play this guy.
What was the biggest challenge for you playing Arthur Curry?
I’ve never played anyone like Arthur before – someone who’s defiant, and an outcast and a rascal. So, I got to be grumpy and ornery. And to exercise a lot of layers I’ve never gotten to bring to roles before, and that was a lot of fun. For me, the biggest challenge was knowing that we’re only seeing a glimpse of this epic journey that Arthur goes on to find his place in the world and become the great warrior and a king that he is.
After Justice League there’s a solo film on Aquaman. What can you tell us about that?
The cool thing about Aquaman is that it’s an origin story, and where we start and where we end up is just going to be amazing. It is a beautiful movie, and I feel really lucky to be part of it. I’m already excited to watch the movie with my children, and for other kids to see it. My son plays with Batman non-stop and it’ll be cool to see what he thinks now that there are Aquaman action figures. I haven’t made too many movies that my children have gotten to watch, so I’m really looking forward to that.
Were you nervous sharing the screen with the likes of Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot?
I played it cool, but I was totally geeking out on the inside [laughs]. We really loved being on this journey together, and always wanted to see each other on set. Whether it was doing team-building scenes or these ambitious, complicated stunt sequences, we’d always support each other and try to make each other laugh; it was always a joy.
What do you think is about these superheroes that continues to resonate with people all over the world generation after generation?
What I love about the superhero phenomenon in general is that I think having heroes who are so aspirational, really helps people overcome adversities in their own lives. They help us believe in ourselves – and all of us need that. We all need to be inspired, and these characters teach us that we too can be heroes; we too can help others, and try to make this world we’re in a better place.
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