Jason Momoa is human after all! The 37-year-old actor might be one of television’s most intimidating tough guys, but even he gets starstruck in front of his idols. During a Twitch live stream of Ubisoft’s upcoming video game release, “For Honor,” the Game of Thrones star admitted to completely embarrassing himself during a chance run-in with singer Tom Waits.
“I was in an elevator with him and I had Lola, my daughter, with me,” he tells Yahoo Celebrity. “[Tom] said, ‘That’s a cute baby,’ and I just stared at him and I’m like ‘da da da …’ I couldn’t talk because it was Tom Waits! He means a lot to me so I was having a little trouble talking.” Though he looks back at the memory fondly, Momoa joked that it wasn’t his most composed moment in life. “I was pretty dorky,” he admits.
The incident has left Momoa wondering whether his own fans have been too nervous to approach him in real life, especially because he has a reputation for not always playing the friendliest of characters. “I kind of worry about that sometimes,” he says. “Some people make eye contact and you can recognize that they know who you are but are kind of afraid to approach. Maybe they look at me and they think I’m going to do something, but I’m a pretty nice guy normally!”
And while he has our attention, the actor would also like to set the record straight on the photo of him circulating on the Web where he is being escorted by a pair of “bodyguards.” “That was just at Jimmy Kimmel Live,” he insists. “When I was walking there, I was going to sign autographs. They are just people that work there. I don’t need bodyguards! They are just guys in suits at Jimmy Kimmel. They look nice,” he says, with a chuckle.
Even though he is commonly throwing punches and whipping out martial arts skills on screen, Momoa explains that he really only knows the basics of a variety of fighting styles. “I love learning different martial arts, but I’m definitely a white belt in pretty much everything.” But don’t let his coyness fool you — the 6-foot-4 star could definitely hold his own in a brawl. He just chooses to holster his muscles. “I haven’t been in any bar fights for a very long time, and I should not be doing that anymore,” he laughs. And though he doesn’t hit the gym with his wife, Lisa Bonet – “She does a lot of Pilates, and I’m not doing too many roles involving Pilates,” he jokes — his better half is wearing him down about getting into the yoga studio with her. “She wants me to do a class,” he says. “I should probably do it, but I just get frustrated doing it because I’m not very flexible.”
When he’s not putting his body through hell to train for a role, Momoa enjoys rock climbing, playing music, and his latest obsession: mastering the art of chess. “I never grew up playing chess, but a couple of buddies, when we were doing Justice League, played chess and so I started learning. My son [Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha] and I started playing chess a lot. He’s amazing. He’s 8 and he’s taking down my friends!”
Momoa, who shares a son and daughter with Bonet, has encouraged the hobby, as it keeps his son from wanting to veg out in front of the boob tube.
“We don’t have a TV or Internet,” he reveals. “I grew up without having one and then my wife did too. There is a lot of stuff to do at the house — I built a climbing gym and skate ramp. It’s not that we don’t love movies or TV shows. Generally, I see them when I am away or my wife may watch something on the computer. But I want my children to play with their imagination as long as possible, so I don’t think we’re missing out on anything. It’s more of just the attention that it pulls away of the time we can be with the family. And we try to keep the time face time over time looking at a screen time.”
But after having gotten a taste of “For Honor” (which comes out on Feb. 14), Momoa is tempted to change his tune. “I’m hooked! I’m totally hooked! You saw me up there!” he says, after competing against fellow actors Lauren Cohan (The Walking Dead) and Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones) in a recent live-stream video game battle. “That’s probably why my mom was like, ‘You’re not playing video games.’ Ever since I was little, she kind of banned it from me and now I’m, like, mwa-ha-ha-ha!” he laughs.
Momoa is soon heading to Australia to film the lead role in Aquaman. And the first thing he’ll be requesting in his trailer is a TV and gaming console. “I gotta get good at it!” he exclaims. “I hate saying it, but killing a bunch of people with swords and axes, I enjoy it. And doing it with your friends around the world is kind of fun. I hate that guilty pleasure of bludgeoning someone with a broadsword, but if you haven’t tried it, you should try it!”
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