The early role that almost ruined Jason Momoa’s career

Much like Dwayne Johnson before him, Jason Momoa built a career on being great. With huge muscles and an adorable smile, Momoa has starred in films like the 2011 reboot of Conan the Barbarian. The original 1982 film helped jumpstart Arnold Schwarzenegger’s acting career, and the character was a major step into cinema for Momoa, as he was previously only known for his television work on IMDb. Despite this, Momoa held on to bad memories of the project. “I’ve been involved in a lot of things that really sucked and films that it’s out of your hands. Conan was one of them. It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had and it [was] taken over and turned into a big turd,” he told GQ.

Momoa’s career has been full of ups and downs. After Conan, he had a memorable stint on Game of Thrones, only to be killed in season one, magically brought back from the dead, and suffocated the following season. After his departure from the show, the popularity of “GoT” without Momoa continued to soar. The series finale left a bad impression on fans years later, according to Collider, but that didn’t matter because by then Momoa had already become a superstar. He played “Aquaman” and took over the leading role in the TV series “See”. However, Momoa was close to missing out on all of this as an early career change almost ended his time in Hollywood.

Jason Momoa reflects his fun in the sun

Jason Momoa’s first TV role was in the spin-off series Baywatch: Hawaii. In a show known for its stars like David Hasselhoff and Pamela Anderson running in slow motion with minimal clothing, it makes sense that the producers chose Momoa. He recently won Hawaii’s Model of the Year competition, he said. Momoa was 19 at the time and lied during the casting process when producers asked him if he had ever acted or modeled. He’s claimed to have posed for the biggest names in fashion like Gucci and Louis Vuitton, but “we just kind of made it up,” Momoa told Square Mile. Momoa later continued the charade by colluding with managers to conspire on his fake modeling career. Momoa even modeled after his resume for years.

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That lie nearly cost him, because while the show was good attention for the young actor, the stigma surrounding the series made it difficult for Momoa to find another job. It took him almost five years to even get his first acting agent. “I love that it gave me the opportunity to fall in love with acting, but it also hurt me very, very much to be part of it. Just because it’s Baywatch doesn’t make people think you can act,” Momoa told Movieline. Although the show paved the way for Momoa’s role in “Conan the Barbarian,” he still remembers people questioning the decision to hire a “Baywatch guy.”

Jason Momoa’s many burglaries

After several seasons on Baywatch: Hawaii, Momoa didn’t get the acting offers she was hoping for. “Things got difficult. I didn’t get jobs and had to develop my own project to make some money,” he told Square Mile. Momoa said his biggest hurdle was the reputation he’d earned for being a handsome lifeguard. “No one would take me seriously because it was ‘Baywatch.’ I lived in the shadow of it for a long time,” Momoa told Reuters.

Fed up with few offers, Momoa decided to retire from Hollywood and enjoy rock climbing and traveling around the world. “I was also interested in different religions, so I went to France and Italy. Went to Tibet. Went to Japan. I was living out all my dreams, so to speak,” he recalled to the New York Times. Though it might seem that Game of Thrones was good for Momoa’s career, he revealed that he once again faced an acting drought after his character arc ended. “I couldn’t get a job. It’s very challenging when you have babies and you’re in deep debt,” he confessed to InStyle.

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Even though everything worked out for Momoa, he’s still anxious to relive his early days. For example, he refuses to let his kids watch his Baywatch episodes. “We don’t say the B-word at home. We hide all this… it never happened,” Momoa explained on the Fitzy and Wippa radio show.