When fans learned that Jason Momoa had been cast in the DC Extended Universe, they were undoubtedly happy. That feeling only escalated when DC Entertainment finally confirmed the actor would be playing Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman, for the foreseeable future. After taking on roles in Conan the Barbarian and Game of Thrones, fans were curious as to how Momoa would relate with DC’s iconic underwater hero. And, in a recent interview, Momoa forewent all pretenses when he revealed why he identifies so strongly with Aquaman.
During a one-on-one conversation, Momoa was asked by an interviewer how he connected with the hybrid hero, and Momoa confessed that their common ground was a painful one. “How I identify with that is kind of being…a bit of an outcast. You see, he wasn’t really too accepted…I wasn’t too accepted,” he said.
The actor then continued to explain that he grew up in a small, rural county in Iowa. “There weren’t any races where I grew up. There’s no Chinese, no Mexican, no Black. I grew up in Iowa. I graduated with like 100 people,” he explained.
“I was born in Hawaii, so I would go see my father…[I] just wasn’t accepted on the local side by some people because I wasn’t raised in Hawaii. I identify as being that outcast and not really fitting into two different worlds.”
Back in August 1979, Momoa was born in Honolulu to his parents Coni and Joseph. His father is of Native Hawaiian descent, but he was raised by his mother in Norwalk, Iowa. Growing up, it seems like Momoa felt pulled between two places without ever really fitting into either because of his heritage.
Of course, fans of Aquaman will recognize how Momoa and his past interconnect with the hero. In the comics, Arthur Curry is similarly pulled between two words as he’s half-human, half-Atlantean. His father was a simple lighthouse keeper, but his mother Atlanna was an exiled Queen of Atlantis. Once Arthur learned about his roots, the hero felt conflicted by his conflicting identities and constantly struggled to reconcile them even after becoming the superhero known as Aquaman.
While it is disheartening to hear about Momoa’s internal struggles, fans must be happy to see how the actor is using Aquaman to deal with his issues. The revelation also helps fans understand just why Momoa was absolutely stoked when Zack Snyder approached him about playing the hero.
Earlier this month, Momoa spoke with Entertainment Tonight and described his reaction to being offered the part. “Dude, there was a lot of things that went through my head when he said Aquaman,” Momoa said. “There were a lot of things that went through my mind. I was thinking like, ‘Lobo.’ I’m gonna play some kind of bad guy. I’m like, ‘Who am I gonna play?’ And year, he said Aquaman. I was just like, ‘Come again? Pardon me?’ And then he explained why. I was like, ‘Whoa, buddy. I got your back'”