Interviews with Jason Momoa & Rose McGowan, Conan on Cracked, Green Screen adventures

Our first is an interview with Jason Momoa, both in video and text form. I’ll provide the video below, and the text in the rest of the article after the click.

SAN DIEGO – I really tried to get Jason Momoa to talk about his new role as the iconic fantasy hero “Conan the Barbarian.” I really did. However, after the euphoric reaction Momoa and his former cast members of “Game of Thrones” had received the day before our interview at the series Comic-Con 2011 panel, it was clear his breakout role as Khal Drogo was still on his mind.

Continued!

Momoa is no stranger to television or acting. The 32-year-old actor has a long television career of roles on “Baywatch,” “North Shore” and “Stargate: Atlantis.” But, it’s his work on “GoT” and now “Conan” which are opening major new doors.

During our sitdown in a nondescript room (which could have doubled for an interrogation room in “Inception”) Momoa was keen to discuss Marcus Nispel’s cinematic reboot of the Robert E. Howard warrior, but just couldn’t let go of his passion for playing Drogo. And while that former tribal leader is presumed perished, he also thinks there is no reason Drogo can’t come back at some point in “GoT.” Perhaps re-incarnated as a dragon? Are you listening George R. Martin? Momoa appears ready to put on that motion-capture suit at anytime to return to the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros.

As to comparisons between Drogo and Conan, Momoa says Drogo is “a silverback. Conan is a lion.” No, I’m not sure who wins that fight either, but it sounds like it would be a lot of fun to watch.

Being the leading man in a feature film is also a bit more intense than being part of a huge series ensemble.

“Conan was a lot harder,” Momoa says. “It was every day. Non-stop. Having to go to the gym. And to do the whole ab thing? It was like being a robot.”

Moreover, it was the confidence he earned on “GoT” that really lead Momoa to a possible new feature career that should kick off with the Cimmerian Warrior.

Momoa notes, “I took ‘Conan’ because I had done ‘Game of Thrones.’ I had ‘Game of Thrones’ in my pocket. It was the greatest thing I’d ever done. I knew it was going to be amazing and that’s why I did ‘Conan.’ ‘Conan’ is easy compared to doing ‘Game of Thrones.’ I’m a physical guy. ‘Conan’ is not a very challenging role for me. Drogo was extremely challenging. To have to go learn a language like that. To go toe-to-toe with 50 English actors? Amazing directors? Everything. ‘Conan’ is not Shakespeare.”

He adds, “Having that I knew would help ‘Conan.'”

Jason’s a bit all over the place there: one minute he’s saying Conan’s harder, the next that Drogo was harder, though this makes more sense in the video, where he explains Conan is harder than Drogo in some ways (much more physical, carrying the lead role) while Drogo is harder in others (being one of the few Americans in the cast, having to do a lot of talking in a fictional language). I’m not a fan of saying “Conan is not Shakespeare” while implicating Game of Thrones is, but obviously from context it’s shorthand for saying “Game of Thrones is lots of talking and Machievallian politics, Conan is action and fighting,” which at least describes the differences between the series and films quite well.

Next is an interview with Rose McGowan at Fandango.com, where she discusses the usual things, though mentions that there’s an extra part in the film which, apparently, pushed the boundaries of good taste a little too far. Removing any subtletey to Marique’s Elektra complex in the film is something I’m really not happy about, so to hear that there was apparently going to be some really heavy incestuous overtones… Yikes. As for that whole dismissal of the hardcore fans thing – yeah, fidelity to the source material counts for nothing, that must be why the adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and A Game of Thrones were so popular, amirite? Anyway, enough griping:

Not movie news, but I feel it’s worth pointing out that popular website Cracked.com has an article which includes discussion of the Cthulhu Mythos links in the Conan stories. In an article about “Movie & TV universes that overlap in mind-blowing ways…” but since they justify its inclusion with the 1980s films and the cartoon, I figure they could get away with it.

As ever, humour is the name of the game with Cracked, but I would be a pretty bad Cromrade if I didn’t point out some quibbles:

  • The character from Cimmeria in “The Shadow Out of Time,” Crom-Ya, is not named after Conan’s nemesis – Conan didn’t really have a nemesis in the Howard stories – but after his god, Crom. This isn’t really pedantry, as even people who only vaguely know Conan are aware of Crom in some manner.
  • The Serpent Men of Valusia never appeared in the Conan stories. However, they did appear in the Kull stories, which are ancient history by Conan’s time. Incidentally, another Mythos writer, Clark Ashton Smith, makes reference to Howard’s Serpent Men in “The Seven Geases,” showing it wasn’t just Lovecraft who borrowed from REH.
  • Actually, Howard’s non-Conan horror “Dig Me No Grave” makes it fairly implicit that Set is not another name for Yig, but for a being Howard called “The One Black Master.” In that tale, it’s said that all the evil gods and demiurges of mythology – Malik Tous, Ahriman, Apolleon, Sathanus, and “The Old Serpent,” a synonym of Set in the Conan stories – are all different guises of “the One Black Master.” Howard then makes the connection of Set to Satan clear in “The Valley of the Worm,” where Set was demonized in later Egyptian mythology, and equated with Satan and Leviathan by the Semites. Interestingly, some scholars believe that if any of Lovecraft’s Great Old Ones are a guise, it would by Nyarlathotep. It’s only later authors who decided that Yig was Set, which is a somewhat problematic correlation.
  • Howard’s Serpent Men, surprisingly enough, didn’t worship Set, but another deity called the Great Serpent. Later authors decided to conflate the two deities into one, though frankly, it’s equally likely this was just another guise of the One Black Master anyway.
  • The monster in the new Conan trailer is pretty clearly not a snake, but a giant squid of some sort. In addition, the Dark Horse comics and Age of Conan haven’t really been shirking from the mythos links, with plenty of Cthulhoid nasties to be found.

Still, isn’t it awesome to see Howard mentioned on Cracked?

There’s another interesting little interview with Jason Momoa by the parentally-minded folk of CelebrityBabies.People.com, where they ask Jason about his children and Conan:

Jason Momoa‘s son Nakoa-Wolf is only 2½, but the toddler is already taking after his action star dad.

“My son loves swords and shields and dragons,” the Conan the Barbarian star told reporters at a press event for the film at San Diego Comic-Con. “So he loves the Conan stuff … he just grabs sticks and [makes swords].”

Nakoa-Wolf is Momoa’s second child with actress Lisa Bonet. Their daughter, Lola Iolani, turned 4 last month.

“They love the action figures,” Momoa, who is also on HBO’s Game of Thrones, says of his kids.

Unfortunately for the duo, the plastic dolls may be as close as they get to experiencing Dad’s version of Conan for quite some time.

While Momoa allowed his children to view the trailer for his upcoming film – “not the [restricted] one,” he clarifies – the actor is adamant his offspring keep away from the full product.

“They’ll never see it till they’re 19,” he says. “They don’t need to see those parts of Daddy!”

The Momoa kids will have to settle for their memories of helping their dad get into character.

“My image of him was this lion or this panther,” Momoa says of playing Conan. “He was just this big cat, so I’d go to the zoo with my kids and I’d just watch and study lions.”

– Jessica Wedemeyer

I have to admit, he has a point. Not everyone needs to see their father naked. Especially in a sex scene. Especially especially not in 3D.

… Wait a minute, run that by me again:

“They love the action figures,” Momoa, who is also on HBO’s Game of Thrones, says of his kids.

Unfortunately for the duo, the plastic dolls may be as close as they get to experiencing Dad’s version of Conan for quite some time.

Action figures? Back in June, it was stated that there weren’t going to be any for the upcoming film. What’s going on here, then? Has Jason commissioned customs for the film, or is there something we don’t know? Hmm…

Finally, a whole bunch of images from Comic-Con are up on Facebook, where visitors had the opportunity to get their picture taken in the midst of a battle. I’ve taken some of the ones I quite liked, either because they’re in costume (I’m not supremely well-versed in wider comic/gaming culture, but I’m pretty sure I saw Lara Croft, Axe-Cop and someone from an Austen or Bronte novel in there), or because they’re delightful:

This gives me so many ideas for crossovers. Lara Croft discovering Hyborian Age ruins and bringing the spirit of Conan forward a la “Kings in the Night” is an obvious one, but frankly, I have a morbid curiosity in seeing Conan transported to turn-of-the-19th-Century Hertefordshire. Pride & Prejudice, Sense & Sensibility, Northanger AbbyBride & Barbarism? Sense & Sorcery? Northerner Axeblade?

You give ’em hell, Granny and little dude!