BE­ING AQUAMAN

Hol­ly­wood’s new­est su­per­hero has a sur­pris­ing swag­ger, writes Neala John­son

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - NEWS - JUS­TICE LEAGUE OPENS THURS­DAY

Meet the man who plays the rock ’n’ roll su­per hero

Bat­man is the brood­ing bil­lion­aire, Su­per­man the boy scout and Won­der Woman the fem­i­nist war­rior. Aquaman, mean­while, is the rock’n’roll su­per­hero we didn’t know we needed.

Years af­ter Game Of Thrones star Ja­son Mo­moa was cast to play the ruler of the seven seas, Aquaman fi­nally swag­gers on to the screen in Jus­tice League, wild-haired, to­tally tat­tooed and not about to break out of his ex­ile for any­one — Bat­man in­cluded.

That rock’n’roll vibe, says Mo­moa, is no ac­ci­dent.

“I’m not gonna lie to you, Slash is def­i­nitely my spirit an­i­mal. So there’s a big in­flu­ence of Slash in Aquaman.

“He’s a loner, so the ar­ro­gance and the rock’n’roll ‘f ... you’, that whole gruff thing, is just a cover-up.”

If Aquaman is the Guns N’ Roses gui­tarist, Jus­tice League is the open­ing riff of Sweet Child O’ Mine — a tan­ta­lis­ing first glimpse of some­thing much big­ger; that be­ing Mo­moa’s head­line DC movie, Aquaman.

Di­rected by Aus­tralian James Wan, the solo out­ing will flesh out the un­der­wa­ter world of At­lantis and the back­story that is only hinted at briefly as Arthur Curry is re­cruited to join Bat­man’s su­per-pow­ered team in Jus­tice League.

Aquaman wrapped prin­ci­pal pho­tog­ra­phy on the Gold Coast just two weeks ago and is due in cine­mas on Box­ing Day 2018.

“When peo­ple are done watch­ing Jus­tice League, they’re go­ing to want to see his world,” says Mo­moa. “I just want au­di­ences to go, ‘Woah, why is he like this?’ He’s got a blue col­lar, he’s got a bit of a grudge, he’s got a chip on his shoul­der. ‘Why is he liv­ing out on the fringe of so­ci­ety?’

“What James is build­ing, the ori­gin story, is amaz­ing. You get to see be­fore he was born, his par­ents ... and also get to see him grow up and not be such an ass.

“This re­luc­tant king will even­tu­ally be­come Aquaman, he will even­tu­ally be­come the king of the seven seas and unite the king­doms. It’s a re­ally cool jour­ney.

“And it’s an amaz­ing world; we go to outer space, but we’ve never been un­der the ocean to this ex­tent.”

Be­fore movie­go­ers can take that deep dive, it’s up to Ben Af­fleck’s Bruce Wayne to put the band to­gether in Jus­tice League — cor­ralling nascent he­roes in­clud­ing The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cy­borg (Ray Fisher) to join him and Won­der Woman (Gal Gadot) in fight­ing off a pow­er­ful threat.

Wayne finds Curry liv­ing off the map in an Ice­landic fish­ing vil­lage, where he helps the vil­lagers who shield his su­per iden­tity. Even Bat­man is go­ing to have a tough time con­vinc­ing this guy to play nicely with oth­ers.

“Aquaman’s not afraid of Bat­man at all,” Mo­moa says. “He’s not a rich guy, but he’s a strong man. For Bat­man, it’s brave and a lit­tle bit stupid to come and try to pull me out.”

Even when he does join the bat­tle, Aquaman re­mains a pot-stir­rer.

“The whole time he’s the devil’s ad­vo­cate — you’ve gotta add that level of ques­tion­ing and doubt to what we’re do­ing and our in­ten­tions, that’s what’s go­ing to give it drama,” Mo­moa says.

While team­work might be a hard sell for Aquaman, Mo­moa can’t speak highly enough of his Jus­tice League col­leagues. “It’s maybe bor­ing to say, but it was truly like fam­ily,” he says. “I prob­a­bly have more prob­lems in my own fam­ily. Gal is amaz­ing, such a queen. Ben, it was great to pick his brain as an ac­tor and di­rec­tor. Ray, we worked out ev­ery day to­gether. Ezra I’ve known since he was 14 so he’s like my lit­tle brother.”

As DC fans know all too well, Jus­tice League has been a long time com­ing. Mo­moa, a life­long Bat­man fan, says the first day the team were fi­nally united on set in their su­per­hero cos­tumes was one to re­mem­ber. “I found my­self fan-boy­ing out. You walk around

Ben’s cape ... I was trip­ping out. You can’t be­lieve you are what you are, then you’re look­ing across and there’s Bat­man and there’s Won­der Woman. It’s so sur­real.”

Born in Honolulu to a Hawai­ian fa­ther and mother of Ger­man and Ir­ish an­ces­try, Mo­moa, 38, is proud to be a rare “brown-skinned su­per­hero”, and of the di­ver­sity un­der­neath the other Jus­tice League cos­tumes: Gadot is Is­raeli, Miller Jewish and Fisher African-Amer­i­can.

Mo­moa’s kids are just as pumped. He has two chil­dren with Lisa Bonet (they wed last month af­ter 12 years to­gether): Lola, 10, and Nakoa-Wolf, al­most nine. Af­ter see­ing Jus­tice League with their dad, “they wanted to see it again and again and again and again,” he re­ports with a laugh.

“It’s pretty cute. Wolfie, my son, is all about Bat­man and Lola’s all about Won­der Woman.” The kids were reg­u­lar vis­i­tors to set, too.

Lola would beam when she got to bor­row Won­der Woman’s tiara — “Gal’s a sweetheart, she def­i­nitely looked af­ter my daugh­ter” — while Af­fleck let Wolfie try on Bat­man’s cowl.

The kids also spent plenty of time in Aus­tralia this year, join­ing their fa­ther in a coun­try he knows well: Mo­moa spent sev­eral years in the mid-’00s liv­ing and trav­el­ling here while engaged to McLeod’s Daugh­ters ac­tress Simmone Mack­in­non. Af­ter a gru­elling six months on Aquaman, he’s still up for more.

“I had a ball. I loved your coun­try,” he says. “And the stu­dios up there are un­be­liev­able. I wanna shoot more movies there.”

“I’m not gonna lie to you,

Slash is def­i­nitely my spirit an­i­mal

Ja­son Mo­moa will fully un­leash Aquaman in 2018.

Ezra Miller, Ja­son Mo­moa, Gal Gadot, Ben Af­fleck, Ray Fisher and Henry Cav­ill

on the Lon­don red car­pet last week.

Miller) and C yborg Woman ( Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Aquaman ( (Ja­son Ja­son Mo­moa), W on­der

tice League. threat against world peace in Jus (Ray Fisher) take on a po wer­ful new

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