Jason Momoa landed his starring role in the Aquaman movie hitting theaters this month in a roundabout way, it turns out. The actor has revealed in a new interview that he actually auditioned to play the Caped Crusader in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, with director Zack Synder ultimately seeing something fresh and unique enough in Momoa’s audition that he hit the actor with a curveball.
In the interview with Fox Chicago below, Momoa explains how Snyder dug the actor’s gonzo audition, which included pretending that Batman got killed in an alley. “I picked it up and tried to play him like I was just down and out,” Momoa explains. “Poor, over it, just done wrong, and he wasn’t afraid to punch even good people in the face… But also, like, flawed, like the kind of person who would jump off the cliff and figure out on the way down what we’re gonna do — that kind of guy.”
Snyder, of course, decided to give the role of the Dark Knight to Ben Affleck, but Momoa got called back a couple of weeks later. That’s when Snyder gave him the news. “Zack laid it down and said, ‘I want you to play Aquaman,’” Momoa recalled. “He told me his vision, what he wanted to do with the tattoos, someone who comes from, being… half-white, half-Polynesian… it made sense.”
We won’t have to wait long to see if casting Momoa as Arthur Curry proves a wiser decision than giving him the job of portraying the defender of Gotham. Indications are that it was an inspired choice, given that early reviews of Aquaman, which opens nationwide on December 21st, are already out and generally positive.
(As a reminder, Amazon Prime members can see the movie a week ahead of its public release as part of a special showing being offered at select theaters around the country).
In terms of the story, Aquaman is an origin tale about the half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur Curry, who goes on a journey to discover who he is and learns that he was born to be a king of the seas. Momoa certainly would have brought his trademark energy to a portrayal of Batman, but Aquaman — with its impressive visuals and stuntwork — was probably a better fit for an actor who admits he’s a man of few words.
On a related note, we’ll get to see his comedic side this weekend, as Momoa is set to host SNL on December 8th.