SAN DIEGO – I really tried to get Jason Momoa to talk about his new role as the iconic fantasy hero “Conan the Barbarian.” I really did. However, after the euphoric reaction Momoa and his former cast members of “Game of Thrones” had received the day before our interview at the series Comic-Con 2011 panel, it was clear his breakout role as Khal Drogo was still on his mind.
Momoa is no stranger to television or acting. The 32-year-old actor has a long television career of roles on “Baywatch,” “North Shore” and “Stargate: Atlantis.” But, it’s his work on “GoT” and now “Conan” which are opening major new doors.
During our sitdown in a nondescript room (which could have doubled for an interrogation room in “Inception”) Momoa was keen to discuss Marcus Nispel’s cinematic reboot of the Robert E. Howard warrior, but just couldn’t let go of his passion for playing Drogo. And while that former tribal leader is presumed perished, he also thinks there is no reason Drogo can’t come back at some point in “GoT.” Perhaps re-incarnated as a dragon? Are you listening George R. Martin? Momoa appears ready to put on that motion-capture suit at anytime to return to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.
As to comparisons between Drogo and Conan, Momoa says Drogo is “a silverback. Conan is a lion.” No, I’m not sure who wins that fight either, but it sounds like it would be a lot of fun to watch.
Being the leading man in a feature film is also a bit more intense than being part of a huge series ensemble.
“Conan was a lot harder,” Momoa says. “It was every day. Non-stop. Having to go to the gym. And to do the whole ab thing? It was like being a robot.”
Moreover, it was the confidence he earned on “GoT” that really lead Momoa to a possible new feature career that should kick off with the Cimmerian Warrior.
Momoa notes, “I took ‘Conan’ because I had done ‘Game of Thrones.’ I had ‘Game of Thrones’ in my pocket. It was the greatest thing I’d ever done. I knew it was going to be amazing and that’s why I did ‘Conan.’ ‘Conan’ is easy compared to doing ‘Game of Thrones.’ I’m a physical guy. ‘Conan’ is not a very challenging role for me. Drogo was extremely challenging. To have to go learn a language like that. To go toe-to-toe with 50 English actors? Amazing directors? Everything. ‘Conan’ is not Shakespeare.”
He adds, “Having that I knew would help ‘Conan.'”
To discover Momoa’s true passion for all his projects, check out the video of our entertaining discussion embedded in this post.
“Conan the Barbarian” opens nationwide on Aug. 19.
For year-round entertainment commentary follow Gregory Ellwood on Twitter @HitFixGregory.