STRIPLV1017

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Striplv Magazine - The Sexiest Magazine on the Planet, Issue 1017

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This striking part Hawaiian, part Irish, part Native American actor first came to acting as a part of Baywatch Hawaii, the television series that ran from 1991-2001. He landed the part at an open casting call held for the show. When his time for the audition finally came, the producers of the show asked him what type of experience he had, and his answer was to fake it. He was there with a friend at the time and they started to make up on the spot that he was a male model working for the likes of Prada and other big fashion names. When he indeed ended up landing the role, managers on set helped him to create a headshot and resume detailing his fictional modeling career. After the show wrapped, he found it was more helpful to keep the modeling credits on his resume rather than continue with Baywatch as his only experience. His career evolved after leaving the red trunks behind with other parts in movies and television series such as a stint in the Stargate TV series. During this period he met and fell in love with his wife, Lisa Bonet. The couple now has two children of their own, and as a result, Momoa is now step-father to Bonet’s daughter Zoe, a child from her previous marriage to rocker Lenny Kravitz. In 2011, Jason hit the movie role jackpot with the starring role in the reboot of Conan The Barbarian. When asked if he was intimidated stepping into Arnold Schwarzenegger’s iconic role he said: “No, I never saw the movie, so it wasn’t intimidating. I know I can never be him. It’s really hard, the two of us are so different, and when you watch it, you don't see Arnold right? It's like you watch James Bond, it's Sean Connery, and Daniel Craig, they are fantastic, but they are not even remotely alike." Around the same time, Momoa also auditioned for a little TV pilot called Game Of Thrones. His audition not only landed him the part of Conan, but also launched him to fame with a part as Khal Drogo in the now wildly popular HBO series. He thought at that moment he had made it, but Conan wasn’t a big success and his time on GOT was limited. But a cameo in 2016’s Batman Versus Superman confirmed that he had landed the role of Aquaman the in highly anticipated superhero release Justice League, which comes out next month. Fans have been clamoring for it since its big four-minute trailer debut at Comic-Con in San Diego this past summer. STRIPLV got the chance to interview this next-in-line big-time action star, and ask him about how it all feels, and what it was like working with Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey in Bad Batch, which came out this past summer. STRIPLV: Jason, how does it feel to be the next big franchise superstar? MAMOA: It feels great, dude! Bring it on! (Laughs) STRIPLV: You’ve made an incredible jump from playing a Dothraki leader to starring in The Bad Batch, Justice League, and your upcoming Aquaman film. MAMOA: It’s a big challenge, but I’m up for it. It’s been a hard road for me to get to this point. People talk about my role in Game of Thrones, but it didn’t do much for my career. I was struggling to find work, and it was pretty bleak. I also didn’t want to take any jobs where I would just play a guy who grunts. I wanted to show other sides of me. But not being able to find a good role was what got me to write Road to Paloma, which got into Sundance and that led to my getting hired for The Red Road. I’m not thinking about the past, anymore, though, it’s all looking good now. STRIPLV: What was it like working on The Bad Batch with all those major stars like Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey on the set? MAMOA: It was great. My character has a very brutal survivor’s mentality to him, but he’s also capable of great care and affection at times. I also loved working with Lily [director Ana Lily Amirpour]. My wife and I are huge fans of her film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night [a vampire western]. It was incredible to get to work with her and be part of the vision she brings to this very extreme world. STRIPLV: With Aquaman in the works, do you wonder how being the star of a major new film franchise will change you? MAMOA: No. The only difference it’s going to make is that I won’t worry about putting food on the table anymore or the next mortgage payment. I’ve had to go through that kind of thing and being forced to take jobs to take care of my family, and now I have the freedom to choose the work I want to do. I also have some friends who’ve gotten to enjoy some success working in big movies and it hasn’t changed who they are. It won’t change who I am. STRIPLV: Are you a big family man? MAMOA: I love my family. I live for that. We live in Topanga (California) on a five-acre property where we’re out in nature, and we have goats and dogs and a donkey. I get to take my kid’s hiking and mountain climbing a lot. Climbing can be tough, but it also teaches them to push themselves and gain self-confidence. The more you overcome your fears, the stronger you’re going to be in life. STRIPLV: You’re a larger-than-life figure in most of your acting roles. Are you a gentle giant as a dad? MAMOA: (Laughs) I definitely don’t act like a tough guy at home. I’m a pretty soft guy at heart. I’m very relaxed, and I like to think I have a lot of enthusiasm and spirit when it comes to life. I love being with my wife and children, and I like my children to think of me as their papa bear. STRIPLV: What can you tell us about your background? MAMOA: I was born in Hawaii, but I grew up in Iowa where I was raised by my mother. She’s Irish-German and also has some Native American ancestry, but I don’t think of myself in terms of being Hawaiian or white or whatever. It’s the same with my work. I’m playing action guys now, but I see myself doing a lot more than that. Playing these roles and getting to do Aquaman is going to open up a lot of different work for me and that’s exactly what I’d like to do with my career. I think being raised by a single mother gives you more vulnerability and sensitivity as an individual. I can be tough when I need to, but that’s not the way I am in person. STRIPLV: So how would you feel if your kids wanted to go into the business? MAMOA: I mean, I’m going to support them through everything. I can’t give them knowledge, if they are mathematicians and lawyers and doctors, fantastic. I’ll support them in anything that they want to do. But I’ll surround my children with music, and dance and the arts and theatre and pray that they can express themselves through mind, body and soul and that to me is the ultimate art form. In acting, you’ve got to find yourself. It’s good for people that even aren’t actors; it’s good to get in there and dig out some demons and find at the root of what you are and express yourself, put yourself out there and for all to display and for people to judge. It’s not an easy thing, so it’s great. I think it’s easy to be a critic, but it’s hard to get out there and make something original. STRIPLV: How do you think you are going to do with the whole heartthrob sex symbol thing? MAMOA: I don’t know. I wasn’t raised that way. I was raised in the Midwest, where it’s like you grow up to do your workload, and you are not known for your sex appeal. You graduate with 50 kids in a white farm town. I was not raised in LA; I don’t have that, it’s not in my roots. I mean, so it doesn’t really affect me. “Thank you for the compliment and have a nice day.” I don’t really know how to react to it. STRIPLV: Have you been star-struck by anyone? MAMOA: You know I’m a really big geek. I get star struck by everything; I really do, I like that. I’m just excited about life, you know? I was star struck by my wife, I’m star struck by Christian Slater, he’s in my movie, and I was like, he was bigger to me than Arnold, like Gleaming the Cube was my movie when I was growing up because I was a skateboarder, stupid, but that was my big thing. I am star-struck by that, and if I saw Jack Nicholson, I’d be blown away or Daniel Day-Lewis, and I’m always going to be. Stallone when I met him, I said yes, cause it’s Rocky, I mean, I’d be an idiot not to. I’m doing an axe fight scene with Rocky, that’s awesome. I’m still a geek. STRIPLV: How does it feel to have landed the Aquaman role? MAMOA: It’s hard to believe. I first got the role three or four years ago, but I couldn’t say a word about it and that kind of drives you crazy because you’re so excited and thrilled about it. STRIPLV: How did you get cast for the part? MAMOA: Zack Snyder [the film’s original director who dropped out of the project because of the death of his daughter] saw me at the training facility I was going to where I practice stunts and asked me if I would meet him at his office. He was a fan of Game of Thrones and knew me from that series, and that’s when we first started talking about Aquaman. Originally, though, he asked me to do an audition tape for Batman. I never thought I would get that, but he and the studio liked what I did and that led him to eventually offer me Aquaman. STRIPLV: What is your perspective on Aquaman? MAMOA: I can identify with how he’s someone who’s not accepted in either of his worlds. His mother is from Atlantis, and his father is from Earth. I was raised in Iowa where I didn’t really look like everyone else. I was also raised by my mother, which is the case with Aquaman. So that gives me a lot of insight into who he is, and I hope to be able to bring that out in the film.

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