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Jason Momoa

At 'Aquaman' premiere, Jason Momoa does the haka


HOLLYWOOD (AP) — This was Jason Momoa's Hollywood moment.

The fashion model-turned-actor has enjoyed some major screen successes, including a season on the acclaimed "Game of Thrones" and as part of the Justice League film ensembles.

But Wednesday night, he was the headliner and the star attraction at the Los Angeles premiere of a huge holiday film boasting a classy supporting cast, including Nicole Kidman.

His Justice League character, Aquaman, finally has become a solo act and was in the spotlight.

Nicole Kidman, Jason Momoa, Amber Heard
Nicole Kidman, from left, Jason Momoa, and Amber Heard arrive at the premiere of "Aquaman" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

After briefly posing for photos with family, Momoa removed his jacket and joined other musclebound cast members on the aqua carpet to do the haka, a ceremonial dance of New Zealand. (Veteran New Zealand actor Temuera Morrison portrays Aquaman's father in the film, and Momoa himself is a fan of New Zealand sports teams.)

Then he posed for photos with Kidman, and started walking the press gauntlet — all this following a premiere in London, a mega press event and hosting "Saturday Night Live" in New York, and a blockbusting opening for his film last week in China.

"It has been surreal for so long," Momoa said. "I've never went through anything like this before in my life. So, I'm very thankful. I'm very awake. I notice a lot of love, and I'm very thankful to be here because it can all get pulled away. So, I'm just trying to enjoy as much I can."

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From writer-director James Wan, the film was delayed numerous times, just like wet-and-wild predecessors like "Titanic" and "Waterworld."

"I mean, you know, you can't really make an 'Aquaman' movie and not get wet," Wan noted. "That's the bottom line. And, you know, it's the classic things that you've heard from the past. It's so difficult on production, you know from a technical standpoint water just slows everything down. But I can't make this movie without water. That's the bottom line, and we, you know, we would put big set pieces that we would then submerge in a huge water tank. And it's a bit of a pain, let me tell you."

Amber Heard portrays Aquaman's partner in action and love, Mera.

"It's a very exciting time to play this role: a kick-ass, empowered, strong, powerful superhero, who just so happens to be a woman," Heard noted. "Yes, it's pretty amazing. It's a great time. It's a great time to do that now. But it was a great time 10 years ago. It was a great time five years ago. Why? Because it's always been a good time for fairness and equal representation and inclusion."

Coni Momoa, Jason Momoa, Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa, Lisa Bonet, Lola Iolani Momoa
Coni Momoa (Jason Mamoa's mother), from left, Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa (his son), Jason Momoa, Lisa Bonet (his wife) and Lola Iolani Momoa (his daughter) arrive at the premiere of "Aquaman" at TCL Chinese Theatre on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Other powerful female characters include Kidman's Queen Atlanna, and a monster voiced by Julie Andrews.

Noted Wan, "You know, like when I was designing this character, I wanted the most powerful creature on earth to be a female character. And I wanted her to be British. And, so, when Julie Andrews' - Dame Julie Andrews' - name came along, I was like, 'This is meant to be.' And, so, we reached out to her and, thankfully, she was willing to come play with us on this."

For Momoa, one of the most memorable parts of the "Aquaman" journey was hosting the American comedy-sketch show, "Saturday Night Live."

"That was the highlight of my career," he said. "That was the greatest moment of anything I've ever done. What's so great about that? It's just my pinnacle in my mind and my heart is 'SNL.' I've always wanted to do it, so. And then it superseded every expectation. It was extremely hard and I look forward to, hopefully - I'm actually going to go back to work so that I can be on 'SNL' again. Now I've just had to have a steady job making movies so I can be on 'SNL.'"

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