Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa receives rave reviews for Dune performance

Jason Momoa stars in Dune
Jason Momoa stars opposite Timothee Chalamet in Dune
Actor Jason Momoa has received rave reviews for his performance in the latest Hollywood blockbuster Dune. Photo: Dune trailer
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Alice Lolohea | Reporter/Director/Videographer

Highly anticipated Hollywood blockbuster Dune has finally made its way to Kiwi shores for the lucky ones outside of Tāmaki Makaurau.

The film is the latest adaptation of Frank Hubert’s beloved sci-fi novel, and already, Dune has garnered  positive reviews for its sheer visual scale, champagne casting and performances by its leading stars Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya.

Pasifika actor Jason Momoa also stars in the film as fan-favourite character Duncan Idaho, a mentor, trainer and friend to Chalamet’s Paul Atreides.

Forbes Journalist Paul Tassi wrote of his performance, “Dune feels like a moment for [Jason Momoa].”

“He’s not the star, of course. He doesn’t get a ton of screen time, which is true to the books.”

“And yet every time [Jason] appears, he’s a mix of charm, levity and when the moment calls for it, badassery, as it’s no surprise, given his action background, he’s given the best fight sequences of the film.”

It’s these same qualities which compelled the films director Denis Villeneuve to handpick Momoa to play Duncan Idaho.

In an interview for the Shanghai International Film Festival, Villeneuve explained, “Jason was someone that I [chose] for his bohemian relationship with adventure and his elegance on screen.”

“And at the same time his fantastic smile, where we see that insane charisma on camera and the way he’s like a ballet dancer when he fights — and he portrays one of the best fighters in the galaxy.”

“So I needed that kind of knighthood, kind of elegance and bravado and at the same time sense of humour. So Jason was a perfect hero.”

Momoa has acted in many productions, most notably Khal Drogo in Game of Thrones and more recently as DC’s Aquaman.

While both roles involved a vigorous and lengthy audition process, Dune was the first time in Momoa’s career where he was personally offered the role via a video call.

“[Denis told] me about the movie and kept asking me questions,” Momoa told Entertainment Weekly.

“He was telling me about Duncan and he was pitching me the idea, which was very surreal, cos I’ve never been… pitched the role — especially by someone like [Denis].”

“He said, ‘Would you mind shaving your beard for the role?’ And I went, ‘Yeah! Are you offering me the role?'”

“[Denis] was like, ‘Yes, I want you to be Duncan Idaho.'”

Jason Momoa at London Dune Premiere
Jason at the London Dune Premiere with co-stars Timothée Chalamet and Zendaya  Photo: Just Jared

Momoa was given rare access behind the scenes of Dune for his own YouTube channel, where he documented his time on set.

During the production’s filming in Jordan’s Wadi Rum, Momoa took his team to film around the desert, creating a montage of Wadi Rum’s extraordinary scenery.

Villeneuve was so impressed by their work, he took the actor and the film’s cinematographer out into the desert to film during the lunch break the very next day.

One of Momoa’s shots eventually made it into the film.

“That was definitely one of the greatest moments as an actor,” Momoa explained to his YouTube viewers.

“Here’s a man who’s my absolute idol and inspiration as a director — I love every movie he’s done, I love working with him — and [I] go out and do something that inspires him.”

“It was such a huge honour to do that, and then for it to make the final cut is just baffling.”

Quotes have been edited for length and clarity.

Dune is out in cinemas now. Watch the trailer below.

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