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'Conan': Jason Momoa takes a stab at playing the barbarian

Jason Momoa as Conan the Barbarian

Jason Momoa as Conan the Barbarian Photo Credit: handout

Jason Momoa has got some big shoes to fill - literally.

In "Conan the Barbarian," America's latest action star takes on the title role - originated by Arnold Schwarzenegger in the early '80s - in the revival of the classic Robert E. Howard character hitting screens on Friday.

amNewYork spoke with Momoa - the 32-year-old actor who recently tore up the small screen as the brutal Khal Drogo in HBO's "Game of Thrones" and as Ronon Dex on "Stargate: Atlantis" - about playing the iconic character.

How did you prepare for this role?
There's a lot of training obviously. Six hours a day pretty much. Whether it be sword play, weight lifting, cardio and, obviously, eating in between each one of those every two hours. That's about six hours a day.

How does one get into the mindset of Conan the Barbarian?
[You take] all those moments when all those kids made fun of you in high school and beat you up, and you just roll all that into a ball and then you say, "Action!"

Did you get beat up in high school?
Yeah! I was small when I was in high school. I wasn't much of a fighter - it's all acting. I'm not a very good fighter. It's all smoke and mirrors, my friend.

Are you looking to branch out from your recent spate of sci-fi and fantasy roles?
I don't think I'll put a limitation on anything. Obviously I'm not stuck in barbarian world. It's hard for me to play that; I'm actually funny and charming. There's no limitation to what you can play, and I like that about sci-fi/fantasy. Second of all, there are really phenomenal characters - Ronon and Drogo are one of a kind. When I read [for Drogo], I was like, "There's no one on TV, that's ever been on TV, that's going to be like this guy." You don't turn that down - you go headfirst trying to get it.

Are you worried you might get typecast in the barbarian role?
I feel like I'm not going to be typecast at all. I mean, Drogo is amazing, and then I got Conan, which is a dream come true - it's a phenomenal role. I hope it does well so I can do [parts] 2 and 3. But I'm not going to pick something else that's going to be like "Conan."

This was a very bloody film. What was the toughest part about making it?
Just keeping injury at bay, to tell you the truth. Because you do that much action, you're constantly injured. There's a steady flow of blood coming out of you somewhere. It was just keeping the intensity up, the morale up, and trying to stay healthy.

Did you look to the original movie for inspiration?
I hadn't seen it until about two weeks ago.

Having now seen Arnold's film, do you think your Conan could beat up his Conan?
Ohhh, I don't know. He's pretty big. But I definitely wield the sword better, that's for sure. We'll say I move better, but he's pretty strong.

Any thoughts on running for governor?
I was going to go for the presidency since I'm, like, from this country.


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