Jason Momoa on ‘See,’ Aquaman & ‘Game of Thrones’ | Personal Space | MTV News

Jason Momoa on ‘See,’ Aquaman & ‘Game of Thrones’ | Personal Space | MTV News

– That was pretty rad. Do you play? – I don’t think I have
the aptitude, buddy. (strumming electric guitar) – That thing sounds sick, dude. Best interview ever. (grunting) – I think I just got my
calisthenics in for the day. – I haven’t even had caffeine yet. – [Josh] It’s always good
to catch up with you, buddy, and I can tell that we’ve
chose the right place. And I can’t even take credit. You chose the place. – Yeah, I mean I stay around the corner and I love these guys
and I always come in, so I just feel like I love small business and it’s very cozy and I bought some of my first things here, so. – So what’s the meaningfulness of guitars and music in your life? Growing up, did you wanna be a rockstar before you wanted to be an actor? – No, no, I knew I would never, no. I just I love, love music. My mom surrounded me with
music, and then I could never, we could never really afford
any of this kinda stuff, and so I feel like when you’re on set, and Stargate’s when it all kicked off, I just kinda went I love the blues, I just wanna grow old and learn the blues. – When Aquaman hangs up his trident he’s gonna go back and
play a little guitar. – [Jason] It’s fun, man. – All right, so there’s
a lot to talk about. You’ve got a lot of
amazing things going on. Congratulations on the new Apple show. ‘See’ is an epic, big– – Did you get to see a little bit? – I watched the first four. – Four? – [Josh] Yeah. – How the (beep) did you get, sorry. How did you get four? – I know people, I know you. – I haven’t seen three. – It’s been a long strange trip, to say the least about your career. – Yes, and our paths. – And our paths too, but
no, I wanna talk about your career today because you got started, your big break was as a Planters peanut on the side of a road. – Yeah. (laughs) I was. – So what was that gig exactly? – My aunt ran Walgreens,
she was a manager, and so they had like a Planters peanut and I went out there and put the thing on and danced around in the street and it was fun ’cause no one knew. I mean I was just a young kid. I got cash. – Right. Were you good at it? Did you have good moves? – I’ve got some moves, man. You know, I’m Hawaiian,
we invented the hula, you know what I’m saying? (laughs) – You mentioned Hawaii. Born in Honolulu, raised in Iowa. – Yeah, yeah. – Your childhood defines anybody, but that’s an interesting juxtaposition. – It is, it is, very well. – How do you think it
defined you growing up? Did you feel like you had a
certain place in the world? Were you confused about
where you were or what? – It’s so different in Hawaii, and when I go there I just
didn’t feel too connected but at the same time
it’s such a beautiful, like it’s paradise. It’s a weird spot in my life
that I don’t fully know, and that’s what, you
know, when I got older I wanted to go get to know better. But growing up in Iowa, I think
it’s amazing in the Midwest. Like where I grew up, that’s
America, and it’s flat. If you can have fun in Iowa, you can have fun anywhere.
– You can have fun anywhere. – That should be the motto. – I can have fun anywhere. And it’s great, I mean like I love Iowa. – So what brought you back
to Hawaii as a teenager? So out of school you go
back and you’re working in a t-shirt shop as I understand it. – Yeah, I was in Colorado and I was trying to get in state tuition to go to college. So I was just working
like three or four jobs, and a bunch of things happened
but I needed to leave there, and I saved a bunch of money. – I feel like that’s the
interview I wanna do. – I know, I know, I was like that’s it– – Wait, wait, a bunch of things happen. (laughs) – I left, I left, and I went to– – It was a mutual decision. – I was gonna go on
this trip around France and go rock climb and stuff like that, but I was busing tables and
I saved a bunch of money, and then I saw this video
with my family in it and it was called ‘In God’s Hands,’ and it was just towing it in the big surf, and I couldn’t believe
it was a blockbuster and I saw it and I was
like what am I doing rock climbing in Colorado when I have the biggest surfing family in the world. – Paradise is waiting for me. – Yeah, so I’m gonna take the summer off and I flew over and I
just stayed at my dad’s and lived on the floor there
and got to know him better and just like, you know,
not just a vacation dad, like actually post up for months at a time and annoy him and him annoy me. – And in the process you
get a big gig at the time. – Well no, yeah, then I was
working in the family surf shop, and then a TV show came
and all the cousins went down there to go
meet, what you do at 19. Tons of beautiful women down there and so I went to go say hi to ’em, and then a month of auditions, and the day I was supposed to go back, like I was tickets going back to Colorado was the day I got the
job on ‘Baywatch: Hawaii.’ – [Josh] I guess as a 19
year old, like that’s a, I mean come on, that’s a dream. – Yeah but like from a kid from Iowa you’re like, “I’m on what?” Like I was a biology major,
like had some brains. You know what I mean? Like I was not planning on going to be on ‘Baywatch: Hawaii,’ like laughable, especially to my… My whole family worked on, like
we did all the water safety, did a lot of cool things. They tried to change the
whole Baywatch stigma. I did whatever I wanted to. Like I’d watch a movie,
I’d watch like ‘Fight Club’ and then I’d go play a bunch
of characters out of it. I’d watch ‘Heat’ and I’d just go play. They didn’t care. I would just mess around. – So if I’m watching
‘Baywatch’ I can see you doing a little ‘Heat,’ a little
Michael Mann ‘Heat’ on the show. – They’ll be like, “I got two
dead bodies on the sidewalk.” – That’s a good Pacino. – I’m sorry, (beep) damn. Chicken. It’s overcooked. – I mean as a hardcore ‘Heat’
fan that’s pretty impressive. (laughs) – So I would just see
something and go like, you know I’d be like doing, you’d definitely see me
going like that’s right, and I’d be like doing weird (beep). – That’s amazing. – And you’ll see me just go like oh, Momoa’s just watching, you know. – You might as well use it. – Yeah, so I just played, and then, you know I thought it was always like this and then I flew into LA and was living in a little studio and tried to go audition and meet agents and no one would. It was just like douche. Like four years of just like, no. It didn’t go well. I’m like I’m 20, I’m
gonna go travel the world, and I was a big rock
climber so I just went to France, Tibet, Italy, all
the things I wanted to do, and I just backpacked and climbed. – Amazing. – Everything I ever wanted to do. If it all failed, go back to school. You know what I mean? – So say like something like ‘Aquaman’ had come up at 25 and you had gotten it. Do you think you would’ve been
able to handle that kind of– – Oh, no, it would have been bad. It would have been bad. I’m just really thankful. And I always kinda felt that, that if I got through all my career early, it would have just, I would have… – You were just wild. I mean you’re wild now but
you’re wild within constraints. You know your limits. – You see it happen, you know what I mean, like you’re just too
young for that kinda stuff and you get that kinda
money thrown at you. It was good to keep me poor for a long… – What about ‘Game of Thrones?’ At certain points in someone’s career, the right character
comes at the right time for the right person, and it seems like this
is what happened for you. Did it feel like when you landed that role you knew what it could be for your career? – No. You never think that a movie about dragons is gonna like do really well. When I finished ‘Stargate Atlantis,’ and I did four seasons of it, I was like I don’t wanna
do this kinda work. I just like, I gotta, I’m
26, I wanna do movies, I wanna shot at this, I’ve
been hiding up in Canada just doing a sci-fi show, no one knows me. But it taught me how to,
that’s why I direct and that’s why I can do all the stuff, ’cause I learned every
day it was like college, four years of like solid work. And I knew and was close with everyone. And then I had an
accident, where my face… – Yeah there was a bar fight, right? – Yeah, and so that really set me back and I had to take a year
off and like, you know, I had both the kids then. And it was spooky, you know. – Yeah, that’s major. – I’d lose my eye. If I didn’t have a Neanderthal forehead I wouldn’t have an eyeball. Thanks dad. Mom, you’re beautiful. Dad. Good old Hawaiian visor saved me. – Perfect combo. – Yeah. So, um. – Well no jumping ahead. – Yeah, but we got ‘Game of Thrones.’ You know, you read it,
I just wanted to do HBO, I’m like, man, just HBO,
quality, get on there. And then you read the
audition, it’s pretty gnarly, it’s not the easiest thing to audition for and you don’t say much. But I knew that the book was phenomenal and I could do some great things with it. And so I didn’t know it
was gonna be that big. I mean it’s the greatest
show on earth, hands down. It’s phenomenal. And it was perfect. I was in it just enough. – Exactly. – That’s what’s great about ‘See.’ Fast forward to ‘See’ now. What’s great about my new show on Apple+. – He’s a pro. – Is that all the things
I wanted to exercise, I never got to do. You know what I mean? Like we just fell in love, then he dies, and it’s like… – Oh you have a huge
arc, even the first few episodes of the series, we’re spanning– You hooked after three? – Yeah, absolutely. – We didn’t even get a
fight in ‘Game of Thrones,’ you know what I mean? I wrote that, I mean I brought
that up to Dan and David, I was like I wanna have – let’s have a fight scene ’cause I mean it’s gosh,
most people hire me for that. And so we made the one where I just move and then rip his throat out. Which is great, but I’m like let me go, like let me go coach, I wanna fight. – Episode one of ‘See,’ and then wait til episode three of ‘See.’ – So that was my pitch to Francis. – Well let’s set up the show a little bit. So we’re in kind of like a
post-apocalyptic kind of a world. Everyone’s blind, the
ability to see is gone. I mean to me it’s like
‘Mad Max’ the TV series. It’s like a big swing at a concept. Is that what hooked you? Like just the idea of it, the concept. – Yeah ’cause with Steven Knight, his whole idea of it’s really like all those tribes, Native American tribes, like Comanches, the Apaches,
and just like Pawnee and having America back to what it was, and if you stripped everything away and no technology and
you’ve gotta start all over. And it’s cool reinventing it. And then it reinvents
everything by using your senses. By removing vision, you’re
heightening and strengthening all your other senses,
which is really cool to do as a fight scene, which you see, and how connected it is and how we would navigate through the world. I’m playing a character
that has to be firing on all these other senses. You’re not trying to block
them or cover them up. You’re actually quite an ultimate warrior. You’re really connected,
almost like an animal, to the environment, which we should be because we’re extremely disconnected, and vision is very highly overrated. – You tangle with a bear in this one. – I do. 900 pounds, nine foot tall when
he stands on his hind legs. – What’s it like to work with an actor that’s actually bigger than you? – It was a trip, ’cause
you know, like I’m a father and I don’t wanna die and it’s a grizzly and what he can do and the
power behind those things is… – Amazing, amazing. Let me go back a little bit, ’cause one thing I didn’t
hit on ‘Game of Thrones,’ your relationship with
Emilia, everybody loves. You guys, obviously this is a friendship that will stand the test of time. How much does the success
of your run on that show, you think, rest on the
chemistry and friendship you had with Emilia Clarke? – Oh, no, I mean ‘Game of Thrones’ is, no, the books are amazing,
it has nothing do with me and her friendship. I mean no. (laughs) – That’s just a nice bonus. – Yeah the series was amazing
because of me and Emilia. – No, I’m saying, but that
relationship needs to work. I mean that tension and that… – Yeah. – No? – Yeah absolutely, yeah. Thanks bud. Yeah we’ll see. – We saw your, I think your live reaction to the end of ‘Game of Thrones.’ So you were not a fan
of where Dany ended up, safe to say? – No, no, no. No I’m like, you know, I blame Jon. (laughs) I blame Jon. He could have loved her better. – [Josh] Have you told your buddy Kit? – No, no, I mean it’s funny, no, no, ’cause it’s a TV show. – He writes it himself. – Yeah no, and my best, I’m
like literally best friends with David and Dan, so I’m
like you know, we’re all close. – So who should have ended
up on the Iron Throne? – I don’t know. It’s good the way it ended. – It would be cool to see Jason
Momoa in a ‘Star Wars’ film, wouldn’t you say? – Buddy, you know what I wanna play. – Tell me. – Can you guess? And it’s already an established character. – What are we doing? What’s happening? (indistinct whispering) Okay, I love that you’re
telling me all this, but we can’t say– – But I wanna see your face,
we all wanna see your face. Wouldn’t that be cool? – Yes, that would be amazing! Now can we say it? – Can you imagine like the
one point and you go like, and you do the… – Okay. – And he takes the thing
out and you go like… (gasping) Because, think about who the dad is. – Yeah I got… Oh, I just gave the hint.
– Boom. – No, so it’s up to you. What do you think? But I think it’d be sick, right? – Yeah. Have you told that to any of
the ‘Star Wars’ powers that be? – No. I just told that to you Josh. (laughs) So don’t blab it and like just go like, we can hint things and make people guess. – It’s in there, if you
listen to what I said, it’s in there. – Everyone’s like, rewind. Don’t even know what rewind is. – Okay, we have to talk a
little ‘Aquaman’ at least. You auditioned at first for Batman. You might be the only
guy that was probably too big for the Batman costume. – Ben’s big, Ben’s huge. – Ben’s a big guy. – Ben’s huge, yeah. – Did you know when you were
doing the Batman audition that maybe this wasn’t the right fit? – I almost didn’t go in. I thought this is dumb,
Batman’s not gonna be my tint. There’s no way we’re
hiring me to play Batman. Zack was very, very like I wanna see him, I wanna see the tape, bring him in. And so I followed my agents,
I was like fine, I’ll do it. But I just decided to do
it in a total different way that if Batman got mugged by
some people in an alleyway, like gangster walks up, puts his thing on, he just doesn’t give two (beep). And so I just played it that way ’cause it was already an existing scene, and it was just a booby trap, I knew it was a booby
trap so I just played it. – Well you clearly showed him something ’cause he very soon after brings you back and says, “You’re my Aquaman.” – Yeah. – So it seems to me, judging
from our past conversations and others you’ve had, you’re always gonna be indebted to Zack. Zack Snyder’s your guy.
– Totally, man. He changed your life. – Totally. – So is that partially why,
when we spoke about a year ago and I brought up the Snyder cut, you were like (beep)
yeah, I need to see that? – Yeah, absolutely. But I have seen it, so. – You’ve seen, you’ve– – I’ve seen the Snyder cut. – So what does that mean? Because the effects aren’t done, like you’ve seen his assemblage of footage and alternate takes, et cetera? – Oh you think Zack couldn’t finish it? You don’t think he… – I don’t know, you tell me. He’s finished a version. – I mean listen man, next question. – Do you think we’ll ever see it? Do you think the public will
ever see it at this point? ‘Cause it seems like it’s actually, the groundswell has grown, and a year ago I would have had my doubts. – I think the public needs to see it. I’m obviously indebted to Warners and DC and I don’t know how they feel about it, but I mean, as a fan, I’m very, very happy that I got to see it. – Does it feel like a
totally different movie than the ‘Justice League’ that was released? – Yep, yeah. – Okay, here’s hoping. Okay. I know you went into
Warner Brothers recently and talked about ‘Aquaman
2,’ your take on it. – I might be fired now, but… (laughs) – But seems like they responded to it. – Yeah, they’re beautiful. I mean I went in to go
I love this character, this is how I see and
want it to move this way, let me just give a shot at it. And so I went in and pitched it, and I think you know, Walter Hamada at DC was kinda like you know,
obviously he’s like you never know how to feel about that. It’s like your friend pitches you a show and you’re like urgh, it’s
like that horrible thing where you go like, it’s gonna suck, but they were all pleasantly surprised at I think how passionate I was about it and obviously it’s gonna have
the original writer in there and yeah. – I know you can’t reveal
anything about specifics, but like what didn’t you get to that you wanna cover as the guy, the face on the poster? – There’s just a lot of family
that I wanna interweave. Like there’s some family stuff. And I think it’s a lot of things that we need to fix in this world and it’s the perfect
superhero where it’s like we’re not fighting things
out in another planet or things where it’s like, we have our own superhero problems here. – Yeah. – That we can really shine
a light on some things that need to be fixed and I feel like it’s the perfect character to bring it on home. – That segues nicely into one other topic I do wanna bring up,
which is your activism. When did that resonate with you, as a kid, was environmental– – Yeah, when I was a kid, yeah, there was an environmental class, and there was also I wanted
to be a marine biologist, and so we studied that in Iowa and we’d go down to the quays
and do the work back in Iowa. It’s always been connected,
so it’s really cool to kinda come full circle and be able to speak on behalf of certain things, bring awareness to it. Try to find ways to make it fun. I mean ultimately people
aren’t gonna change unless it makes someone money, right? Unfortunately. But we need to stop the plastics. I mean there’s a lot of
stuff that we can do, and there’s a lot of solutions to it. But people won’t do it until it’s like pushed to the absolute brink, but it’s like time’s ticking man. I don’t like being preachy, I
don’t like being preached at, I feel like there’s
some ways we can change, so I’m just trying to do it my way. – [Josh] You’re doing more than your part. It’s good stuff. – But there’s a lot of (beep) to do, so I mean you gotta just pick a couple. – Yeah. You do have another
superhero/supervillain in the family. – Oh I know. – [Josh] The new Catwoman,
Zoe, that’s amazing. Great casting, great casting. Did she even give you the heads
up that she was auditioning? – Oh yeah, yeah. It’s a close family, yeah. For sure. – What did you say when she
mentioned like by the way– – I mean I was just like,
“Done, you booked it.” And I told her, I was
like, “I put it out there, “it’s already done.” And she’s like, “Don’t curse it.” I’m like, “It aint cursing it, “I put it out there, you got it.” – Amazing. Bringing back full circle
to the show, ‘See.’ So you’ve shot the first
season, this is huge, I mean Francis Lawrence
is a great director. – Gotta love him. – Good guy. – Have you had a chance to interview him? – Yeah. Sweet guy but knows the world. – Oh, I’m gonna do, I think my next three, I wrote another thing that I brought in and he’s gonna do it. So like me and him are gonna be linked up like hopefully for a decade. – Smart guy to hook up with. – I love Francis. I spent a good last year like
Francis and Denis were like, these were like two gods for me. – Can we talk about Denis for a second? Okay so I’m obsessed with Denis. What was it like to be on
his sets, in that world? – To go from this role, where you’re blind and you’re not making
eye contact with anyone, wrap the show, fly straight to Jordan, and then my first scenes up
are like I’m sitting next to, and I’m a fan boy. I’m sitting next to Josh
Brolin, Timothee Chalamet, and then in walks Javier
Bardem, who I’m like, Javier and Benicio are
like my brown skin boys, you know what I mean? (laughs) I look up to them. And Javier walks in, I have
never, ever, ever, ever, seen a performance like that in my life, and he just tears it up. Unbelievable. And I mean that’s why
Oscar winner, you know. Last time that was with
Nicole, on ‘Aquaman,’ I’ve ever experienced
someone like just “wow, I’m so bad at this job.” – Stop. (laughs) – I need to do like a little more work, but it’s unbelievable. – It’s inspiring, I’m sure, to see that. – Totally, and then to be on Denis, like his vision, like
it’s just a beautiful eye. So I mean he’s right up there for me. – Your self-confidence
must be a little bit higher than that. – I’m so nervous, still,
it doesn’t matter, like I’m just absolutely terrified. I’m happy that I’m getting these places but I mean like, you know, we just did ‘Saturday Night Live’ and
I’m freaking out nervous. I just still have it. Maybe I should feel a little bit more real about the whole thing, but I don’t, I’m still like a giddy little kid. – Well you should enjoy it. – Yeah, no, I totally do. – So but it’s funny, you
mentioned you popped up again on ‘SNL.’ So suddenly you’ve gone
from this being like the ultimate dream, to a
great host, now you pop in, now you’re kind of like
a part of the company. This must just blow your mind. – It’s the coolest thing ever. And I think everyone, ’cause
I just see it like a kid. And it’s the ultimate for me. So popping in and people
know me and I’m like just the crew and being
able to talk to everyone, it’s just, it’s cool. I wanna do it for the rest of my life. – Are we any closer to seeing
you in an actual film comedy? I know there’s a Will Ferrell
project that sounds amazing– – No, that one fell through
because the script wasn’t there, but I mean like, I would
love to do a comedy. I’m not sure if there’s any room. – The curse of success as
your schedule’s booked. – Yeah but I mean like I would love to. I mean I can’t wait to do a comedy. Only you know I’m funny, Josh. You know what I mean? – I’m just saying, like I love characters like Khal Drogo and Baba Voss, but wouldn’t you like to play like a guy named Dave at some point? – Oh no totally. To be in tracksuit
pants and just get boom, you know what I mean? Like I’d love to bro. (laughs)


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