Jason Momoa Says Hollywood Ruined One Of His Favorite Movies

Jason Momoa has been in a lot of staggeringly huge projects, but he blames Hollywood for ruining his best experience.

By Nathan Kamal | Published

jason momoa

Jason Momoa is riding pretty high right now. He was one of the most dynamic and interestingly named characters in Denis Villeneuve’s adaption of the science fiction epic Dune, though it might be a while before we see him again. He has his own starring Apple TV+ show See, in which he got to tangle with Dave Bautista. Of course, his original breakout role was as the doomed Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones, but according to Jason Momoa, one of his favorite projects ever was ruined by Hollywood machinations. Surprisingly, the project in question was the little-loved 2011 Conan the Barbarian reboot.

According to a recent interview in GQ, Conan the Barbarian was one of the “greatest experiences” that Jason Momoa had making a film, but he felt that it was ruined in post-production. While he is not very explicit in what he thinks was changed after principal photography of the Marcus Nispel-directed film, he says there are movies that get “taken out of [your] hands” and in his words, transformed into a “big pile of s***.” That is refreshingly candid about a movie that was initially positioned to be a starring vehicle for him after years of appearing in shows like Baywatch: Hawaii and Stargate Atlantis. Jason Momoa even goes so far as to admit that he has appeared in a lot of film projects that “really sucked,” which is both very honest and kind of a burn on a lot of his former coworkers. 

Conan the Barbarian starred Jason Momoa as the title character, in an attempted reboot of the long-running adventures of Robert E. Howard’s most famous character. Conan had been portrayed by a young Arnold Schwarzenegger in his own 1982 breakout role and its 1984 follow-up Conan the Destroyer. It makes sense that Jason Momoa was hopeful that it could make a star of another large, heavily muscled man, but the movie was a hard flop, grossing a little over $63 million on a $90 million budget. It was also poorly received by critics and currently holds an anemic 25% on Rotten Tomatoes. 

While Jason Momoa may blame the commercial and critical failure of Conan the Barbarian on post-production work, the film had the kind of tortuous development process that rarely turns out well. After attempts to get Arnold Schwarzenegger back were stymied by his election to the highest executive office of one of the largest economies in the world, which were presumably distracting, there were multiple attempts to build a new Conan project. The Wachowskis, Robert Rodriguez, and original screenwriter John Milius were involved at various points, at least five screenwriters worked over different versions of the script, and Brett Ratner angrily denied he would direct it, which can’t be a good sign. 

Fortunately for Jason Momoa, he would be cast as the DC Extended Universe’s Aquaman a few years after. While the first few movies featuring Jason Momoa were not particularly loved, his eventual solo film in 2018 became the single highest-grossing DCEU film to date. The sequel, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is scheduled to be released in March of 2017.