MANILA, Philippines - Popularly known for playing powerful warlord Khal Drogo in HBO's hit medieval fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” Jason Momoa will soon be seen in the big screen squaring off against Sylvester Stallone in the pulsating action-thriller “Bullet to the Head” from legendary director Walter Hill.
In the film, Stallone stars as Jimmy Bobo, a New Orleans hitman who forms an alliance with Washington D.C. detective Taylor Kwan (“Fast Five's” Sung Kang) to bring down the killer of their respective partners: the mercenary Keegan (Momoa).
Raised in Iowa by way of Honolulu and born of German, Irish, Native Hawaiian and Native American blood, Jason Momoa first turned heads as Hawaii's Model of the Year in 1999, thanks to his imposing stature and exotic looks. This success led directly to his first acting gig on “Baywatch: Hawaii,” which he followed up with a few small films and another TV series, but his true breakout came in the role of Ronon Dex on “Stargate: Atlantis.” Most recently, Momoa was seen in “Game of Thrones” which led to the 2011 feature film remake of “Conan the Barbarian.”
In the following interview, Momoa talks about the glorious “Game of Thrones,” what it’s like working with the great Walter Hill and fighting “Rocky” Sylvester Stallone for the upcoming “Bullet in the Head.”
Question: Have you spoken with “Game of Thrones” creators D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and asked, “Couldn’t you have picked me to play a character that lived longer?”
Jason Momoa: [Laughs] I know right. It’s funny me and Dave and Dan are very close and when they called me back I just had such an amazing time, and it was an honor. I love those guys. My only disappointment is I wish (and this is on George Martin) is I wanted to see Drogo go to war, man. That was the only bummer, maybe he could have died in battle. It was a good way to go out because it was just heartbreaking but it would have been fun to see him kick some ass.
Q: When you were making “Game of Thrones” did you know that it was something special?
Momoa: Oh yeah, I’d never heard of anything like it. When I got the script, it was the first time in my life that I wanted to take the opportunity … take something and get it. I’ve never been so focused on getting something in my life. It was like I had to have it.
Q: So you’re just finishing up “Bullet to the Head” with Walter Hill. We’ve only heard little snippets about it but can you tell us about that?
Momoa: That was an honor, it was just amazing and I mean Stallone is just a legend. It was a dream to work with him and my fight scenes with Stallone, it was like you just stop and pinch yourself and say “I can’t believe I’m fighting Rocky right now!” I watched “Rocky” when I was getting ready for Conan. It was fun and I got to play a ‘Don’ for the first time. I’m excited for people to see it.
Q: So did Conan drink three eggs and train in Philly in the morning, just like Rocky?
Momoa: [Laughs] No, Conan drank a lot of beer.
Q: Your take on “Conan” nailed the savagery and made him the best take on the character. How did you feel about the rest of the film living up to your performance?
Momoa: I was a comic book fan and a huge admirer of Frank Frazetta and when he died during our filming, it was so sad because I wanted him to see it and say “Wow, that’s my Conan!” Just looking at his paintings, I wanted to put that up on the screen. I absolutely remember seeing that one where Conan's standing on a pile of skulls and it’s seared into your memory and a I felt like Marcus Nispel is a pretty visually amazing director. There’s just a lot of things that came into it and sometimes the script just wasn’t there. I just wanted take a stab at doing Conan and it’s out of your control, you can only do so much I feel like I bled over, and over and over to do the best I could. I feel like we represented him very well. The movie sometimes, it fell short you can only show up as an actor and be the best you can be.
(Opening across the Philippines on February 2013, “Bullet to the Head” is distributed by Buena Vista International through Columbia Pictures.)