Most people can instantly recognize actor Jason Momoa from his numerous roles as a tough, physically dominant character. But many fans don't know much about him outside his TV and movie roles.
Born Joseph Jason Namakaeha Momoa in Hawaii on August 1, 1979, he had no interest in showbiz growing up. By age 19, though, he fell into a modeling career. Soon afterward, he transitioned into his first television role, appearing on Baywatch: Hawaii. The actor went on to secure two of his most notable parts to date: Ronon Dex on Stargate: Atlantis and Khal Drogo on Game of Thrones.
He then began working on films; Momoa starred in the 2011 remake of Conan the Barbarian and directed and produced 2014's Road to Paloma.
In 2016, Momoa's debut as Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice brought his career to a whole new level. DC Comics fans loved his expanded appearance in Justice League, thanks to the actor's powerful on-screen portrayal. With the 2018 premiere of Aquaman, Momoa seems poised for even bigger and better things.
- Photo: CarlaVanWagoner / Shutterstock.com
He Broke His Nose For His Role As Conan The Barbarian
In 2011, Momoa took on the lead role in Conan the Barbarian, a remake of the 1982 film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Though he trained for six weeks to prepare for the part, he still felt his portrayal was lacking authenticity. He told the Huffington Post he had mentioned to a friend that he felt the warrior character should have injuries consistent with a fighter, such as a broken nose. His friend decided to lend him a hand by hitting him in the face.
Momoa said to the Daily Star, "It was completely broken, and you see it in the picture. [My nose] has got, like, a little hump... It was like one of those [method acting] things you read - Daniel Day-Lewis and [Marlon] Brando did it."
- Photo: Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com
He Won His 'Game Of Thrones' Role By Doing The Haka
Though his time on Stargate: Atlantis won him some fans, Momoa's big break came on the megapopular HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones. While auditioning for the role of Khal Drogo, he decided to make his audition unique by performing the haka - a Maori war dance - for the casting directors.
Momoa recalled in The New York Times, "It was challenging to do the audition afterward - I couldn't stop my heart from beating. The first time I did it, they were very scared. But then they wanted me to come back in so they could put it on tape."
When he arrived at the premiere of his film Aquaman in December of 2018, Momoa - along with a contingent of fellow dancers - again performed the haka for delighted onlookers.
- Photo: Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com
He Calls Himself 'A Big Softie'
Momoa often takes roles that require a strong physical presence and a tough-guy persona. But he explained to CNN, "I'm a big softie. I was raised by a single mother. I was raised by a woman. I'm a strong alpha male but sensitive." He added, "I love comedy... I'd love to do lots and lots and lots of comedies."
Momoa lived out one of his dreams by hosting Saturday Night Live on December 8, 2018.
- Photo: Jasin Boland / ™ & © DC Comics / © 2018 WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT INC.
His Real-Life Tattoos Became Part Of His Aquaman Costume
When Momoa stepped into the role of Aquaman for the DC Extended Universe, many aspects of the character changed to suit the actor. Notably, the blond hair went out the window. In addition, the actor's real-life tattoos became part of his portrayal.
According to DC All Access (via Comic Book), Justice League director Zack Snyder came up with the idea to bring more of Momoa's background to the role. Along with his actual tattoos, Momoa had even more extensive body art incorporated into his Aquaman appearance.