Amid the many superhero movies released during the past decade – and, in some cases, re-released and rebooted – we've yet to see one for DC's Aquaman, the mysterious water dweller. Until now.
After appearing only briefly in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, and a little more in Justice League, Jason Momoa brings his hulking presence to the title role in Aquaman's first standalone movie.
To say the actor is excited would be an understatement. The role also means the 39-year-old – who lives in Los Angeles with wife Lisa Bonet and their two children, Lola, 11, and Nakoa-Wolf, nine – now has financial and creative freedom.
"I've had to take roles just to put food on the table," Jason explains. "Now, I can choose the work I want to do. That's the kind of place most actors want to get to."
Ahead of Aquaman's big splash, Jason gives TV WEEK the scoop…
TV WEEK: You must be pumped to see Aquaman become a Hollywood superhero?
Jason: It's amazing. I had to keep the news secret for four years and I was bursting inside with pride. I've worked very hard to get to this point and you can't appreciate how good this feels. It's so awesome!
How does it feel to be bringing this character to the big screen?
There are a whole bunch of kids out there who don't have someone they can identify with. I think that's a big responsibility, to be this outsider character and the first brown-skinned superhero. I'm so happy I was able to bring everything I ever hoped to the character. There are so many layers to the character and the world he inhabits... I'm so happy to be part of it.
What can you reveal about Aquaman?
He has the perspective of someone who's an outsider. His father is from Earth and his mother is from Atlantis and he's not really accepted in either world. That's a feeling I can relate to, as someone whose father is Hawaiian and growing up in Iowa, where I didn't fit in that easily because I really didn't look like the other kids.
Do you feel like you're giving Hawaiians someone to cheer for?
I hope so – and it's an honour for me. We have a proud tradition and spirit and I would like to show something of our soul to the public. I'm also very proud that I can finally play a character my kids can see in the movie theatre.
Your kids visited the Aquaman set while you were filming, didn't they?
Yeah, and they were also supposed to appear in the film, but their scenes got cut! [Director] James Wan cut them out of the film. He's going to have to explain that to them – I'm not going to take the fall for that! [Laughs]
You cast a physical presence and you're often a tough guy on screen, but what are you like at home?
I definitely don't act like a tough guy at home! [Laughs] I'm a pretty soft guy at heart. I'm very relaxed. I love being with my wife and children and I like my children to think of me as their papa bear.
Aquaman is in cinemas December 26th.