While promoting a couple of his new projects, Jason Momoa wasn’t very happy to be asked about a past one. During a new interview with The New York Times, Momoa was questioned about the controversial Game of Thrones scenes depicting sexual violence and featuring his character. First, Momoa, who appeared on the first season of the series, responded when asked how he feels about the violent scenes now, but at the end of the interview, he told interviewer David Marchese that he felt “icky” about the question, which “left a bad feeling in [his] stomach.”
Read on to see why Momoa took issue with the question and what he had to say about it.
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Momoa played Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones.
Momoa’s Game of Thrones character Khal Drogo is extremely violent. For instance, in the very first episode of the series, he rapes new wife Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), on their wedding night. While the show is adapted from books and some of the violent scenes are necessary to the plot, it has also been criticized for being gratuitous in its use of violence and nudity, particularly when it comes to women characters. This criticism continued throughout the show’s run; Momoa left the show in 2012 after one season. He was not a well-known name prior to Game of Thrones.
Momoa was asked if he would act in those scenes today.
The New York Times asked Momoa about the criticism the show has faced, whether he thinks differently today about the violent scenes he took part in, if he’d do one of those scenes now, and whether he has any regrets.
“Well, it was important to depict Drogo and his style,” Momoa responded. “You’re playing someone that’s like Genghis Khan. It was a really, really, really hard thing to do. But my job was to play something like that, and it’s not a nice thing, and it’s what that character was. It’s not my job to go, ‘Would I not do it?’ I’ve never really been questioned about ‘Do you regret playing a role?’ We’ll put it this way: I already did it. Not doing it again.”
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The actor brought up the question again later in the conversation.
At the end of the interview, Momoa brought up the Game of Thrones question again, because it “left a bad feeling in [his] stomach.” He explained that, as an actor, he didn’t feel it was his choice whether to do a certain scene or not.
“When you brought up Game of Thrones, you brought up stuff about what’s happening with my character and would I do it again,” the 42-year-old said. “I was bummed when you asked me that. It just feels icky—putting it upon me to remove something. As if an actor even had the choice to do that. We’re not really allowed to do anything. There are producers, there are writers, there are directors, and you don’t get to come in and be like, ‘I’m not going do that because this isn’t kosher right now and not right in the political climate.’ That never happens. So it’s a question that feels icky. I just wanted you to know that.”
Momoa has made headlines for comments he’s made about the violence in Game of Thrones in the past.
In 2017, a video of Momoa on a panel at San Diego Comic-Con in 2011 talking about his Game of Thrones character began circulating online. “As far as sci-fi and fantasy, I love that genre because there are so many things you can do, like rip someone’s tongue out of their throat and get away with it and rape beautiful women,” Momoa said at the time.
The See star then apologized for his comments in the resurfaced clip. “I awoke in Australia to the justified reactions by many people to a distasteful joke I made years ago in Hall H for which I am sorry,” Momoa wrote in an Instagram post. “I am still severely disappointed in myself at the insensitivity of my remarks that day. I know my sincerest apology now won’t take away those hurtful words. Rape and sexual harassment can reach anyone and I have seen first hand its painful torment among members of my own family and friends. I made a truly tasteless comment. It is unacceptable and I sincerely apologize with a heavy heart for the words I said.”
Clarke has said that Momoa was professional and courteous during the scenes they shared.
For her part, Clarke has said that Momoa was helpful and supportive when they filmed those graphic scenes. “He took care of me in an environment where I didn’t know I needed to be taken care of,” the actor said on the Armchair Expert podcast (via Oprah Daily). “Jason was an experienced actor who had done a bunch of stuff before coming onto Game of Thrones. He said, ‘This is how it’s meant to be and how it’s not meant to be. I’m going to make sure that’s not the case.’ So he was always like, ‘Can we get her a robe? She’s shivering!”
She added, “It’s only now I realize how fortunate I was. That could’ve gone many, many different ways. He was so kind and considerate, and cared about me as a human being.”
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