[Editor’s Note: We’re aware that Jason Momoa has given various versions of this story to other media outlets in the past, but this is the version in the current issue of Entertainment Weekly, and it’s a version we find very interesting. But please note that if there are any inconsistencies or contradictions, they’re Momoa contradicting himself]
Over the course of the last few days, fans around the world have had plenty of Aquaman goodness to sink their teeth into. That’s thanks, in no small part, to the promotional machine for the film finally getting activated by way of a trailer being shown at CineEurope, and a great spread in this week’s Entertainment Weekly.
While we’ve been treated to some fantastic images, and fun insights into what director James Wan has in store for us, it’s the story of how Jason Momoa landed the title role that we’d like to spotlight today.
See, Momoa was called in to audition for Zack Snyder for an undisclosed role in a DC film. In the past, Momoa has said he thought he was auditioning for a villain or something, because of his unique look and the impression people had of him because of his biggest role up to that point: Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones. That’s why he was stunned to find out that he was actually auditioning to play Batman.
“I’m not a white guy, I ain’t playing Batman,” Momoa recalled thinking at the time. “That’s like an American playing Bond,” he added. He was so certain that this audition would be a waste of time that he almost cancelled on Snyder, due to being tired of Hollywood not knowing what do with him post-Game of Thrones. Ultimately, he scored a victory over his skepticism and decided to go in anyway.
Momoa remembers reading his Batman lines with ample amounts of jaded, cynical sarcasm because of his doubts that this would lead to anything. As it turned out, rather than Snyder being put off by Momoa’s decision to play Bruce Wayne as a smart a**, the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice director had a light bulb; A stroke of genius, really.
“And that’s when Zack was like, ‘I have an idea,'” Momoa told Entertainment Weekly. That idea? Well, they scrapped the idea of considering him for Batman, and instead shifted the audition over to Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman! “I’m like, ‘Blond? Orange shirt and green tights? Is this a joke?”
And that was it, right there. That was the moment where Momoa’s attitude towards the Batman audition suddenly redirected Snyder’s thought process and landed him the role of Aquaman. Pretty wild.
James Wan acknowledges how outside-of-the-box Momoa’s casting was to him at first, and admits having to think deeply on it as he decided whether or not to direct the eventual standalone Aquaman film.
“After sleeping on it for a while, it hit me that was such a brilliant move,” Wan said, of how he went from being thrown off to all in on the idea. “If there’s a superhero that most people like to make fun of, the sheer fact you have Jason Momoa [playing him]- the jokiness goes right out the window.”
So there you have it, folks. Momoa’s lack of belief that he’d ever be cast as Batman indirectly led to him becoming Aquaman, and it all happened because Zack Snyder had the creative wherewithal to pivot on the spot, take what Momoa was giving him, and spin it into casting gold.
Aquaman arrives on December 21.