In an age where actors are being attacked for roles they played in movies or TV shows depicting characters that do not match the sensitivities of the modern day’s wokeism and cancel culture, it should come as no surprise when a megastar actor gets defensive over questions about past roles.
After all, actors don’t write the scripts, direct the scenes, or produce the pictures — they don’t get to pick and choose how a show or movie is made.
Jason Momoa, aka “Aquaman,” recently called out a New York Times interviewer for asking “icky” questions about a role the star played years ago depicting a rape on HBO’s hit “Game of Thrones” show more than 10 years ago and seeming to suggest the actor somehow had the ability to “remove” the disturbing scene.
During an interview with the superstar, Times reporter David Marchese confronted Momoa about an infamous rape scene from the pilot episode of “Game of Thrones” involving his evil character, the barbaric warlord Drogo. During the episode, which first aired in April 2011, Drogo assaulted and raped the woman pledged to be his queen, Daenerys Targaryen, who was played by Emilia Clarke.
Marchese began his #MeToo-friendly questioning by noting that the popular show “inspired a lot of discussion about its depiction of scenes of sexual assault and its treatment of women generally.” With that in mind, the reporter wanted to know if Momoa thought “differently today about those scenes.”
“Would you do one now?” he wanted to know. “Do you have any regrets?”
Did the star understand that such portrayals belong to some bygone era of cinema, some “older cultural moment”?
Momoa was not impressed.
“Well, it was important to depict Drogo and his style,” he replied. “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.”
Then he pointed out that his job was to act the part, not to rewrite the story.
“It’s not my job to go, ‘Would I not do it?'” he added. “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.”
What happened next?
That was end of his answer — but the questioning plagued him throughout the interview. And it seemed to impact the rest of the conversation, during which Momoa, as the New York Post noted, “seemingly gave Marchese the cold shoulder for the remainder of their chat, often offering only terse answers to the reporter’s questions about other roles.”
In fact, the “Game of Thrones” questioning bothered Momoa so much that he closed the back-and-forth by chiding Marchese for the “icky” questions that insinuated that he, as an actor, should reject roles based on what might or might not be “kosher” in a contemporary (or future) political climate.
“I wanted to bring something up that left a bad feeling in my stomach,” Momoa said as Marchese attempted to wrap up the interview.
“When you brought up ‘Game of Thrones,’ you brought up stuff about what’s happening with my character and would I do it again,” he continued. “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,” Momoa closed. “I just wanted you to know that.”