The Great Escape

This is Hollywood’s new manly man. Jason Momoa is the real deal—a rock climber, a motorcycle rider, an axe hurler, a terrific dad—and that’s why Hollywood is betting on him to be the next great superhero.

Jacket, $219, by Patagonia / Sweater, $395, by Ovadia & Sons / Pants, $440, and cup by Snow Peak / White belt by J.Crew / Vintage boots by Church’s / Socks by Etiquette Clothiers

Jason Momoa is so perfect for America. It’s like his body was carved out of the oldest oak tree in the land, then given a blood transfusion from the wildest coyote, and then incubated in the still-warm carcass of the last buffalo on the Great Plains before being crowned with feathers from the only bald eagle not eating out of a dumpster behind a McDonald’s.

Crewneck, $260, by Nanamica / Jeans, $205, by AG / Watch by Tsovet / Sunglasses by John Varvatos / Backpack by Arc’teryx / R nineT Scrambler courtesy of BMW North America

America has been waiting for Jason Momoa. Screw the whole pop culture awakening of the sensitive male. That’s just increased our appetite for a man’s man who rides motorcycles, drinks Guinness, throws axes, and does the ‘Haka’ during his HBO audition instead of, you know, crying or something wimpy. That’s why Khal Drogo, the large chested, dark-eyed, long-haired king of Game of Thrones, was such an instant icon.

The fact that Momoa’s half-Hawaiian native, half-white and keeps getting typecast as a “half-breed” (like the blood-drenched fur trapper Declan Harp in Netflix’s Frontier or, of course, the half-man, half-Atlantis person Aquaman) only increases his American-ness. We are, after all, a nation of half-breeds. Plus, he doesn’t mind the typecast. Loves it even. “It’s an awesome role,” Momoa says in his signature baritone rasp. We’re inclined to agree.

Tank top, $40 (for three), by Calvin Klein Underwear / Pants, $685, by Maison Margiela / Shoes, $165, by Evolv

Cardigan, $1,200, and jeans, $390, by Double RL / Boots, $160, by Danner / Top (Neil Young) by MadeWorn / Sunglasses by Vuarnet / Watch by Timex / Backpacks by Arc’teryx / Ropes by REI

He’s got a soulful side, too. The loving-father, hunky-husband, family-man side. When we spoke, he was just about to take his kids camping in the Buttermilks in Northern California. His two offspring, with the eternally beautiful Lisa Bonet, look like cherubs that just got back from Burning Man. His loose plan for the trip? Go rock climbing, make a fire, get the instruments out and jam. On the car ride up he’ll play the music game with his kids (they can identify Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew upon listening, he claims).

Jacket, $178, by Nautica / Sweatshirt, $165, by Levi’s Vintage Clothing / Pants, $120, by Armani Exchange / Boots, $475, by Timberland / Bracelet by David Yurman / Bows, arrows, and atlatls (throughout) by Tony Soares / Dome tent by The North Face

Since the ill-fated Conan the Barbarian remake, Momoa has been on something of a tear. Following his frustratingly short reign on Game of Thrones, he wrote, directed, and starred in Road to Paloma (which was a little heavy on the motorcycle porn for my taste, but aesthetically compelling), acted in three action flicks including a cannibalism number, and then he caught his major break. First appearing as the only interesting part of Batman v Superman, Momoa’s Aquaman has another, larger role in November’s Justice League. That’ll be followed next year by his own damn movie, the first ever for Aquaman. “We’ve never really seen anything from this guy before, so it’s fun to have a level playing field,” Momoa grumbles optimistically. “There aren’t like four Aquamans before me. I get to set the tone for it.”

What’ll that tone be, you wonder? Muscular angst and soaking-wet beat downs, we’re betting. Momoa explains: “The guy was never really accepted on land, and he was never really accepted in Atlantis. He’s a half-breed. But he’s the best of both worlds. He just doesn’t know how to handle his powers. So it’s kind of a coming of age for a young man to a man, or a man to a king. He’s lost a lot of things and he’s got to cope. He’s an outsider.” Sounds a bit like the story of a chiseled young man raised in Iowa, estranged from his father, who heads for his ancestral stomping ground to reconnect with his father and uncles (incidentally, many of his male relatives are world-class surfers), and lucks into a role in Baywatch Hawaii—what Momoa calls “The ‘B’ word”—thus getting his start in the industry.

Coat, $1,310, by Prada / Henley, $90, by Polo Ralph Lauren / Pants by Duluth Trading Co. / Belt by Eleventy / Wallet chain and knife (at waist) by Black Wolf Co. / Watch by Apple / Black bead necklaces by Stampd / Bottom pendant by David Yurman / Other necklaces, his own

Cardigan, $1,200, and jeans, $390, by Double RL / Boots, $160, by Danner / Top (Neil Young) by MadeWorn / Sunglasses by Vuarnet / Watch by Timex / Backpacks by Arc’teryx / Ropes by REI

Pants, $685, by Maison Margiela / Shoes, $165, by Evolv

But at this moment, all he can think about his getting home to take his kids on one last California camping trip before the whole family ships off to Australia for six months while he shoots Aquaman. A knife-maker friend of his just made knives for his kids, ages 9 (Lola) and 8 (Wolf), with their names on them. And Momoa’s fired up. He’s gonna teach them how to “use them properly and care for them like tools.” As any good, all-American dad would.

Henley, $68, Velva Sheen / Pants, $228, by J Brand / Boots by Timberland / Cuff bracelets (from left): Caputo & Co., Maison Margiela / Bracelet (at waist) by David Yurman / Watch by Apple.

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