Audiences are used to seeing Jason Momoa kick ass onscreen, but that doesn’t mean the bulked-up star isn’t human. While speaking to Yahoo about his new movie, Braven — which hits select theaters nationwide on Feb. 2 — Momoa revealed that he nearly ended up with a second facial scar when a choreographed bar fight scene went totally wrong.
“I got knocked out,” he says with a chuckle. “A stunt guy hit me. He blindsided me. We didn’t make eye contact, and he hit me before I could grab for him, and everything went black.” The incident landed Momoa in the hospital and caused production on the film to shut down for the day. “It was pretty gnarly,” Momoa recalls. “I literally thought a light fell from the sky and something happened or a chair hit me because I was moving toward the punch and I couldn’t even see it. It just hit me on the side by the temple. The lights went out and I was like, ‘I can’t see!’” When Momoa finally came to, he found himself in a hospital room, disoriented and freaked out. “Head trauma is a serious thing,” he says.
The Frontier star, who was back to work the next day, learned a valuable lesson from the experience — to work with stunt men with whom he has a history. “It was stunt guys I had never worked with before,” he says. “So now I bring in people I know and know how to dance with in terms of the choreography.”
Momoa adds, however, that bringing a convincing fight scene to life is “a very tricky thing” and that getting hurt is an unfortunate but occasionally inevitable side effect. “I do my best not to hit a stuntman, and obviously stunt guys try not to hit actors, but sometimes the worst case happens,” he explains. The possibility of getting hurt comes along with his adrenaline-packed roles. “I’m working on a lot of stuff right now where an accident could easily happen,” he tells Yahoo, adding that while filming the highly anticipated Aquaman, both he and his stunt doubles sustained injuries.
As he climbs Hollywood’s ranks, he’s more and more inspired to back away from some of the stunts. “I haven’t had a need for a lot of stunt doubles before because I really enjoy doing the stuff myself, but there has been some stuff lately where there is so much action. Sometimes if they make you do too many times, you can really hurt yourself,” he says.
Momoa’s such a fan of his body doubles nowadays that he’s campaigning to get them more recognition. “How do you feel about stunt guys not getting offers or not getting massive awards? Doesn’t that feel weird?” he ponders. “People love going to watch movies of action. They say, ‘I really want to go see this costume designer, the sound on this movie. I feel like action is just up there too. We gotta support that art form, and they need to be getting some nods for this. … I think it’s absolutely ludicrous that they aren’t getting Oscar nods for action.”
Despite his tough-guy persona, Momoa isn’t afraid to show his vulnerable side onscreen. He notes that he’s proud of the tears that he shed in a pivotal scene of Braven and at least one other project. “I’m currently filming Season 3 of Frontier, and just last night, we shot a scene where one of the main characters passes and we’re all shook up,” he says. “I gotta tell you, I love it. Anytime I get to do anything that I haven’t done as an actor, it’s amazing.”
In fact, it’s the diversity of a character that really sucks Momoa in. “I have a pretty big acting day tomorrow that I’m super-excited about,” he says. “I’m going to be pretty mean, and that’s fun. And yesterday [I] was completely sobbing and having to bawl it out with my buddies, and that’s also amazing.”
Momoa has a trick for crying on command, but it does not involve him picturing his family. “I don’t like to think about my children or my wife in anything like that. I just try to make the circumstances real,” the father of Nakoa-Wolf, 9, and Lola, 10, whom he shares with his wife, Lisa Bonet, explains. He adds that he does his best to put himself into the character’s trials and tribulations: “I don’t have really technical training in acting, but the things that have worked have been making everything real for me and using my imagination and seeing what the character is going through and being there myself. It never worked for me to go off and think of my grandma.” Still, he admits that when all else fails, “being a father is enough.”
Next, Momoa is looking forward to the release of Aquaman, which hits theaters on Dec. 21. The role required the actor to be in superior shape. To achieve that, he had to step up his usual workouts — rock climbing and playing with his kids outdoors. “I had to be lean and ripped, which is the hardest thing to achieve,” he says.
Momoa complemented his grueling fitness routine with the Blood Type Diet. “For my blood type, I don’t really need to eat the carbs. I love pasta and cheese, but it’s generally meat and vegetables. And if I’m going to have any carbs, it’s going to be beer,” he reveals. “I love Guinness. I’ll have a very strict diet so that I can have a couple of Guinnesses at the end of the day after a day of hard work.”