At six-foot-five, 230 pounds, with olive skin and green eyes, Jason Momoa has all the requirements to be Hollywood’s next big action star. Add to the list that his muscles have muscles and he has that permanently mussed up, long hair that makes it look like he just stepped off the cover of a romance novel.
In person, the man who is Aquaman in “Justice League” (and beyond, with his own stand-alone film next year), is the kind of guy who does wear his heart on his watery sleeve. Ask about his new wife Lisa Bonet, and the mountain becomes total mush. “She’s a goddess,” he says with a sweet smile. “I don’t know what I did to deserve her.”
Did we mention that the 38-year-old former Iowan and one-time “Game of Thrones” star is humble, too?
RJ: What’s an average Sunday like?
JM: It’s all about family things. We have little kids (Lola, 10, and son Nokoa-Wolf, 8), so it’s about getting up early, hanging out with the kids, going outside, maybe going to a movie. We’re all about family activities or just hanging out with Daddy.
Do your kids think it’s cool that Daddy is Aquaman?
They came to visit me on the “Justice League” set in London on the perfect day. There I was standing on top of the Batmobile, which was moving! I was surfing the thing with Ben Affleck as Batman driving. My kids were standing there in awe watching, which was a proud Daddy moment.
You have a major Vegas connection since you debuted Aquaman at CinemaCon.
I love coming into Vegas for CinemaCon. It’s really important because you’re showing the movie to the people who show the movies. This was a quick trip into Vegas for me for “Justice League” this year and it felt so good to stand on the stage with Ben and Gal and Ezra and Ray and everyone. You really do feel like it’s an alliance … and here we were debuting it in this mega exciting city that supports the arts.
Honestly, it feels great when you have fans who really want to see what you’re doing. It isn’t easy to get big roles when you’re starting out as an actor, so I really appreciate it. If someone wants to take a picture, I’m stopping. Sure, life gets crazier each day. I just try to stay away from all the internet stuff. I don’t read any of it.
What’s the appeal of the fishy hunk?
What I love about Aquaman is that he’s not really accepted at first on the land or in the sea, which is why he lives in the tides. He’s hurt when we meet him and sensitive because he feels like he’s misunderstood. He covers up those feelings at first. As an actor, I love that there is so much there. He’s like a big onion where we slowly need to peel away the layers only to find that inside there is this fierce hero who is really a teddy bear. He joins the Justice League and knows it’s the greatest thing that ever happened to him. All of a sudden, he’s loved, wanted and feels part of something, which is what I think a lot of the fans and people in general long for these days.
What were you doing before you started acting?
I grew up in Iowa, but I was born in Honolulu where my father is a painter. My mom is a photographer and painter. So, I was always interested in the arts and going to movies. I grew up at the multiplex, but never thought I’d become an actor. After high school, I was studying marine biology in Hawaii and folding T-shirts to make extra money for school. At the surf shop, I heard a call go out that a production company needed actors for the series “Baywatch.” It fell into my lap. Then I studied acting to be taken seriously.
What do you love about acting now?
The whole point of being an actor is studying life. I found out that I could do so many things as an actor because I could be anyone, live anywhere and go anyplace.
You played the larger than life Khal Drogo on “Game of Thrones.” How did you feel when you got that role? And how did it feel when you heard you were being killed?
I actually thought they were going to go with another actor for the role. A voice inside still said, “No one is going to take this from me. This is the biggest bad ass role and it’s mine.” Aside from my wife, the other thing I had to have was this role.
When you were “offed?”
When I read that I was going to die, I started screaming, “Noooooooo! Noooooo way!” I got in the car and actually drove to Barnes & Noble to check out the books and how I would die. I was in the bookstore and started screaming “nooooooo” again. It was so brutal. Then I had to stop screaming and say, “That’s awesome.”
Do you have a mentor?
I did love working with Sylvester Stallone on the film “Bullet to the Head.” He’s a great father, an artist, a director and writer. He balanced it all his entire life, which was really inspiring. It’s cool to hang out with people you idolize. Maybe someday dudes will say that about me.
Your kids might think it’s cool that you know Rocky.
My son is obsessed with Batman and I know Batman. When we were filming “Justice League,” I could say, “Hey son, want to go hang out in the Batmobile?” Then I’d turn to my daughter and say, “Wonder Woman is really cool, too. Poppa also knows her.”