Jason Momoa: AAPI Heritage Month Actor Highlights

We raise a mighty goblet to AAPI superhero Jason Momoa, the DCEU's Aquaman and House of Atreides warrior Duncan Idaho in the upcoming sci-fi epic, "Dune."

Chuck Walton

By Chuck Walton

Jason Momoa AAPI Heritage Month Aquaman

© HBO Max / Courtesy Everett Collection

He cuts an imposing figure no matter what the project is, and he's been on the frontlines of activism for the AAPI community. On this day in AAPI Heritage Month, we salute actor and action hero Jason Momoa.

How You Know Him

The 6'4" and heavily muscled movie star is best known as Aquaman in four different DC movies (with at least one more on the way).

© Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

© Warner Bros./courtesy Everett Collection

He's also the imposing warlord Khal Drogo in the first two seasons of HBO's "Game of Thrones." And before that, he played Ronon Dex on several seasons of "Stargate: Atlantis" (self-describing his role as the "Chewbacca" of the series). And he's currently Baba Voss, the blind leader of a future tribe in Apple TV+ series "See."

His Life So Far

Momoa was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, in 1979, the son of a native Hawaiian father and an Irish/German/Native American mother.

His first entry into the business was as a model in the late '90s, and as one of the stars of "Baywatch: Hawaii," on which he appeared in the series' last two seasons.

After "Stargate: Atlantis" (2005-2009), Momoa earned the title role in a remake of "Conan the Barbarian" (2011). Although there's no matching Arnold Schwarzenegger in the original films, Momoa did pack on an impressive physique and attitude. Subsequently, he gained further infamy as Khal Drogo on "Game of Thrones" (2011-2012).

Momoa also tried his hand at directing, producing, and co-writing with 2014's "Paloma." He starred in the feature as an Indian American who goes on the run after killing his mother's rapist.

The movie co-starred Lisa Bonet, Momoa's partner in real life since 2005. The couple have two children, and married in 2017. Momoa's stepdad to Bonet's daughter with musician/actor Lenny Kravitz, the prolific actress Zoe Kravitz.

Since 2016, Momoa's further rocketed to international stardom as Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. The character received more exposure in this year's "Zack Snyder's Justice League," and will return in an "Aquaman" sequel.

© HBO Max / Courtesy Everett Collection

© HBO Max / Courtesy Everett Collection

The Movie to See

While most everyone's seen "Aquaman," movie fans should revisit the 2011 "Conan the Barbarian." It's hard to believe that only a decade before, Momoa was the fairy slender pretty boy lifeguard on "Baywatch: Hawaii." He had come a long way to play writer Robert E. Howard's creation. The fact that he does nothing to embarrass himself in Schwarzenegger's shadow says something.

A lot of the reviews at the time were negative, but this hardcore sword and sorcery adaptation holds its own. And this is where modern Momoa begins. Jason Momoa is an AAPI badass here, and he's still taking names.

©Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

©Lionsgate/Courtesy Everett Collection

Also, it must be mentioned that the actor in real life, in 2019, was one of the most visible activists who protested the building of the Thirty Meter Telescope on Mauna Kea, a holy site for Native Hawaiians.

What's Up Next

Look for Momoa soon in the prominent role of Duncan Idaho, protector and warrior in the House of Atreides, in the "Dune" adaptation from filmmaker Denis Villeneuve ("Sicario"). The movie will land in theaters and on HBOMax on October 1, 2021.

Chuck Walton

Chuck is an editor/writer who's worked for NCM, Fandango, Movies.com, MediaTrip, Hollywood.com and Newsweek. His favorite movie is "Jaws." He's definitely a dog guy.

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