The Haka – Jason Momoa

The Haka – Jason Momoa

The Haka – Jason Momoa

Jason performs the Haka at the Aquaman Premiere

I had the pleasure of coaching Jason Momoa for two quarters at Actor Circle Theatre. He studied Technique 1 and 2, and it changed his life.

The first time I remember seeing Jason Moma, he was sitting in the back row. He was enormous. We were in a theatre, mind you, so theater seating, not much room, his legs were, propped up, over the seats in front of him.

I told him to take his feet down, he said sorry and slumped over. I said, “Don’t slump.” He said he’s too big, so I told him to come down to the front row. And that’s when I noticed he doesn’t wear shoes…

Jason struggled cause he didn’t really

understand the Technique, which is all based on imagination and he wasn’t used to it. This didn’t stop him quite the opposite really. He never missed class. He loved it and ate it up. He studied for two quarters and after, took several privates.

At one of these private coaching sessions, Jason threw the script against the wall, “I don’t know what to do.” I know very few people who speak louder than me, he does, and when he shouts, things shake.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“They don’t have sides, and I have to speak a language that nobody in the room has to understand.”

“It’s not your job to worry about that.”

Let’s take things back a bit. Everyone has to sing a song at the end of Technique 1. Jason found this out, and he waited till everyone had left the theatre before approaching me.

“I don’t sing,” he said

I’ve heard this before, “We’re not looking to go on the road and do a musical.”

“I don’t know how to sing anything,” he resisted.

I saw something in his eyes. Something that drew me to believe there was a song inside him. I asked if there something, anything.

He said, “There’s one thing I know, that’s sort of a song, the Haka.

“Let me see.”

He kicked off his sandals and showed me this horrible, fighting, guttural flurry of movements and sounds. The lights shook. I’ve never seen, at the drop of a hat, such commitment, and he did it with such passion and skill, there was and is no one before or after like him.

After he finished, he said, “I could do that.” So that’s what he did for the exercise in Technique 1.

Back to our private session: I said, “Remember at the end of Technique 1, you had to sing a song?


“Do that.”

And he said okay.

He called me and said he got it. He seemed, sort of, perplexed.

See, he’s played a man in the ocean who doesn’t speak much, Baywatch, and he’s used to being the hunk with his shirt off, the eye candy roles.

It’s not that he was hurt by it, but he was tired by it. He wanted to do something where his shirt was on and do some lines.

I believe that audition for Game of Thrones was the beginning of his life and now he’s on every corner block.

I watched him on Saturday Night Live the other day, and he was wearing the weirdest pink pants, but the shirt he had on was great. Well, they pulled out to a full shot, and he was barefoot!


These days, “boys” don’t want to wear shoes, and tennis shoes don’t count. I got him to wear hard shoes, but I don’t think I ever got him to wear socks.

I wish that Jason could keep his clothes on and speak. I’m very anxious to see Aquaman, to see his training pay off. This movie, I hope, will get his foot in the door, for the water will rumble when he plays a king with his shirt on.

Stella Adler and I, and this sound’s corny, but we believe that there is a bigger god in all of us, and there are exercises that I teach: the Imaginary Story, the Reminisce, the Song, that brings it out. Jason’s good, he’s an artist. Listen to his Haka, and you will hear him.

Singing a song is a universal fear. That’s why Stella Adler used it in her Technique, that’s why I continue to do so. Those who want to go up on stage and sing are showoffs, and they aren’t good anyway.

Images are the bases of this technique and images come in songs, in words, in anything and everything. Images are everywhere, and the Haka led Jason to this key.

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