Jason Momoa became a breakout star thanks to his performance as the fierce and feared warlord Khal Drogo in HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” but after seeing his character get killed off in the season finale, both fans and the actor know he won’t be returning for Season 2.
“The description of Drogo was amazing, so… [I] started reading the book… It took me four days. [When] Drogo died, I literally freaked out, set down the book, went to Barnes & Noble, bought the second book and I’m flipping through it because, of course, I’m [somehow back] in it and I was so bummed [I wasn’t],” he told AccessHollywood.com on Tuesday of what he originally thought would happen with his character. “I was super bummed.”
While Drogo’s death means the end of Jason’s character in the series, he was pleased with the way his warlord went out – in a giant funeral pyre, which he revealed was shot in the day after nighttime filming went awry due to winds in Malta. Jason also told Access he had his children, with wife Lisa Bonet, on set during some of the filming, which was an inspiring sight for his little ones.
“They weren’t scared or anything like that,” he said of his son, Nakoa-Wolf, and daughter, Lola Iolani. “They know their dad, so it wasn’t like they were running for their lives. But my son loved it. He’s always got his sword and shield. He loves his sword, so he’s always playing with that, and my daughter, she loves coming to the set. When I get all the makeup put on, she comes and sits on my lap.”
The actor’s children were also on set when he filmed his first lead role in a film – the title part in “Conan The Barbarian,” which is due out on August 19.
The motion picture was actually shot after the “Game of Thrones” pilot, but before the show became a full-fledged series.
Jason netted both roles for a host of reasons, including performing a tribal dance, the Haka, in front of at least one casting director who also nabbed him for “Conan.”
“When you have a big 6’5” Hawaiian, screaming at the top of his lungs, like ready to rape, pillage and kill anyone in front of me, these… casting directors were kind of very scared,” Jason laughed. “It worked.”
It helped that he looked the part too – big and brawny and with a scar in his eyebrow that Jason revealed he received in a harrowing fashion from a man he believes was taking part in a “gang initiation.”
“It was crazy,” he explained of what happened several years ago. “A guy smashed a pint glass in my face. I got a little over 140 stitches in my face. It helped get those mean roles.
“It just doesn’t grow there anymore,” Jason said of the white line through his eyebrow hair. “I got my wife beforehand, so… if she doesn’t like it, too bad. She likes it.”
Although Jason did the Drogo and “Conan” roles back to back, he had a very different diet to transform his body into different shapes for the two parts. “Conan” was a diet of “boiled chicken,” while Drogo allowed the 6’5” actor a few indulgences.
“That was actually the heaviest I’ve ever been,” he said of his physique for the Khal, who in the books, Jason noted, was around 7’ tall. “On ‘Conan’ I had to stay really lean. Drogo’s not sitting around doing sit-ups, he’s basically just crushing his wife and crushing beer and eating whatever the hell he wants to. He’s a king, so… I drank Guinness and ate pasta all the time so it was fantastic.”
Jason will have a chance to celebrate both of the projects next month when he heads to Comic-Con in San Diego. The actor will be a part of the “Conan The Barbarian” presence, and reunite with his “Game of Thrones” cast including Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jamie Lannister), Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister) and his on-screen bride Emilia Clarke, whom he refers to as his “little sister.”
“I’m definitely excited to go down there because I don’t know the next time I’ll see them. It’s going to be a nice little reunion and then ‘Conan,’” Jason said. “It’s my first lead in anything, so I’m really pumped just to see it. I haven’t even [gotten] to see it yet. By then I’ll have seen it in 3-D and everything and it’ll be pretty cool.”