Jason Momoa Says Dune ‘Scared’ Him ‘More Than Any Other Film’
Fear may be the mind-killer in Dune – for Jason Momoa, it made him step up to the sand and face the bagpipes.
There’s a lot at stake with Dune‘s first chapter: the legacy of Frank Herbert’s ‘unadaptable’ source material, (in)famously brought to life by David Lynch after Alejandro Jodorowsky lost control; Denis Villeneuve’s stature as a mainstream director, having made a masterpiece with Blade Runner 2049 that didn’t connect at the box office; and a fraught wait for Part Two to be greenlit.
The 2010s shepherded in the new, scarcely effective normal: the cinematic universe, courtesy of the MCU. Dune represents a mature step forward within that realm while hearkening back to the dense, otherworld scale of Lord of the Rings. It’s arguably this year’s biggest blockbuster, if only culturally – that pressure was not lost on Momoa.
I sat down with Momoa ahead of the release of Dune. Given he’s the current holder of the trident as Aquaman, the Hawaiian is au fait with bombastic, fantastical storytelling, and he isn’t exactly a stranger to the weight of a fandom on his shoulders.
Comparing the two worlds, Momoa said the DCEU has ‘a lot more studio work… when I watch Justice League or Aquaman, they’ll give you a visual of what it’s like, and there’s so many beautiful artists doing visual effects.’
‘At the end of it, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is unbelievable. I can’t believe I’ve went on this adventure!’ When I watch Aquaman with my kids, I’m like, ‘Wow! It’s wonderful to see these worlds.’
‘In Dune, I’m truly in those places. It’s just me being so stoked at being in these worlds… there’s so many different worlds on this planet and I’m thankful to go to these spots.’
Speaking to the actor, his charisma is almost intimidating. He’s laid-back, but not apathetic; polite, but not nice for the sake of it; genuine, but not insufferably earnest. He’s the last person you’d expect to be frightened of anything – mainly because he’d be too chilled to care – and given almost all of his co-stars claimed they felt no anxiety coming onto Dune, his answer to whether he did was most surprising.
‘I’d say this film probably scared me more than any film I’ve ever been on. It wasn’t necessarily the role; it’s more my fear, nerves of failure in front of my peers and idols. Being in front of the camera isn’t really a problem. Denis is my favourite director in the world, these actors on this movie are the ones I look up to. I’m working with everyone I’ve ever wanted to work with.’
Momoa’s Hollywood to-do list is garnering ticks by the month, it seems. He’s due to return to Atlantis in Aquaman 2, he recently starred in Netflix’s Sweet Girl and also has a comedy in the pipeline, which he’s ‘so proud’ of. Not dissimilar to Dave Bautista, his profile as a movie star and talent to be reckoned with is only growing (he’s the highlight of Dune, I’d add).
Though, when I asked him which role he’d force himself into if he had Dune‘s Bene Gesserit voice – essentially allowing him to command anyone at will – his first response was a testament to his character, not career.
‘Well if I had that voice, I wouldn’t be taking a role, I’d be getting people to save the Earth and stop the stupid sh*t we’re doing,’ he said.
I urged him he’d have to be selfish with the voice. He paused for a moment, before saying, ‘You know bud, I’m literally f*cking doing it.’
‘Denis is my favourite I’ve ever worked with, and I’m working with another one of my best friends on my next role, for Aquaman. This is the f*cking pinnacle for me. After we talk in 2022 and 2023, I’m pretty much done. I gotta figure out new sh*t to do, because this is it – I’ll have lived out all my dreams, I gotta come up with new ones.’
Lest those dreams have any fear.
Dune hits UK cinemas on Thursday, October 21.
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