Jason Momoa wanted to land the role of Dothraki warrior leader of Khal Drogo in HBO’s Game of Thrones. So for his audition tape, he was looking for something powerful and captivating to represent the essence of a fearsome warrior. He opted to perform an ad-libbed version of the Haka, a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge of New Zealand’s Maori people. “It’s very, very powerful, and I wanted to capture that,” Jason explained to New Zealand’s Stuff. “I just thought it was apt for the role because it’s beautiful and scary.”

Born in Hawaii, Jason has shared he feels a kinship with the Maori. “We come from the same [Polynesian] culture, I fell in love with [the Haka] and with the people too, “ he said. You might recognize the dance from New Zealand’s rugby team or the film Once Were Warriors.

While the 35-second tape was not alone in winning him the role, it certainly put him contention for the part. This audition tape lead to what would end up being his breakthrough performance as Khal Drogo–a role that would be limited to the first season of the fantasy series, aside from flashbacks of his formidable character to come in the fifth season. But his portrayal of the barbarian catapulted his career and lead to some serious star power! Indeed, Warner Bros. has confirmed that Momoa will play Aquaman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and he’ll star in an Aquaman solo film in 2018.

The Haka was a special skill that Momoa had up his sleeves, ready to be used at any time for a potential role if it was fitting. He was not perfect at the dance; it appears Momoa changed some of the dance’s vigorous gestures. Nor was his attempt at the war cry flawless; rather, he put his own spin on it. Ultimately, he succeeded in his goal to excite and fascinate the casting powers that be. What special skills do you have that can help land you acting gigs? Are you hesitant to add them to your profile because you think they’re not polished enough? Make sure all your special skills are listed on your Casting Frontier profile regardless of your proficiency. You can be honest about your level of skill, and rest assured that when casting directors search the database for that particular ability, your profile will come up for consideration. But it won’t if you never add it. So make sure to populate and update your Special Skills Wizard in your Casting Frontier profile. Give yourself every chance you can to get discovered and achieve your acting goals.

 

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