Jason Momoa is a very talented and diverse actor—not just a really big guy who fights on screen.
In his directorial debut with “Road to Paloma,” Momoa has shown his talent range as an actor, director, writer, producer and even with wardrobe, music and location scout. He did it all.
The film is about an American-Indian outlaw wanted by the authorities for murdering the man who raped his mother. He comes out of hiding to retrieve his mother’s ashes to give her a proper sendoff.
The film also stars Robert Homer Mollohan, Lisa Bonet, Lance Henriksen and Sarah Shahi.
Latino-Review had an exclusive phone interview with Momoa. We discussed a range of topics including his directorial debut, challenges in production, using his friends on set and his dream film project based on a Hawaiian hero. We didn’t ask him an Aquaman question (he’s not going to answer it anyways), but he did briefly explain on why he won’t answer them.
“Road to Paloma” is currently available on VOD and Digital Download today.
Latino-Review: How did you come up with the idea for “Road to Paloma?”
Jason Momoa: The first came from my friend Robert Mollohan. That’s who I wrote it with and he’s my co-star in the movie. He plays Cash. He actually attended a Democratic convention. He found out about the topic there. He told me and we started to write a movie. So I said to let’s do a thing together.
It really hit home when he told on what’s going on these reservations. Being a father, husband, grandson and son, is that if someone hurts a woman in my life and I would take of it. This subject makes me sick. Some would do [something] and some people wouldn’t. Personally, I would probably do [the same thing as my character], but you’ll lose your life and being on the run.It was very interesting to be able to be put in that position. You can be a very good person, but under unusual circumstances—what would you really want to do?
It was something that I wanted to do as a director and go to those places as an actor.
Latino-Review: Now why did you decide to direct this movie yourself?
Jason Momoa: Well, I always wanted to direct so I did some shorts beforehand to get ready for my first feature. Right now, I love doing TV shows, small movies and big movies. But, I could also be writing my own [films]. It’s really about storytelling. I really enjoy the process of storytelling. I knew eventually I want to go towards directing.
Latino-Review: For this project, you had to wear many different hats—not only directing and acting. What other jobs did you have to do?
Jason Momoa: Pretty much all the set designs like the locations and places I’ve been to in my life. I’ve traveled a lot myself. I did the wardrobe. I was pretty tight with a lot of the music. I wouldn’t say I was a great music supervisor, but I helped with the choice of music I wanted in. All the people on the soundtrack are very, very close friends.
So that’s just some of things I’ve done while directing this movie. The list actually goes on. Everyone contributed. No one had less than five jobs [on the production]. It was actually fun. Everyone in the production helped out and really cared.
Latino-Review: By wearing all these different hats, what was the most difficult thing to do?
Jason Momoa: It was pretty much after the fact to deal with people and putting the picture together. You have to sell [the movie] and a lot of things change in the middle of the process. The actual process of writing is phenomenal. I loved it. Rob and I had a great time with it and with another friend who helped written it too. Shooting it was phenomenal.
When people have to see it, you have to change it a little bit so people could buy it. That part was very frustrating and hard for me.
Latino-Review: Since this is an indie film, could you talk about how you manage to recruit your cast? I understand that a lot of them were your friends.
Jason Momoa: Rob and I wrote [the movie] with all of our friends in mind. I know too many fantastic artists that don’t get recognized in the way I think they should. There are a lot of talented people out there. I was very gifted and very fortunate to have friends who would do me a favor. I wanted to see them excel and rise. Everyone had got each other’s back.
Latino-Review: Tell me where a lot of this stuff was filmed at.
Jason Momoa: We spent quite a bit of time on where the tribe is at—the Mojave. It’s around the tri-corner of Arizona, California and Nevada. We also went to Colorado and Utah.
Latino-Review: So it sounds like you put a lot of mileage yourself then?
Jason Momoa: Absolutely. We kind of had it all planned out. We even went to the Four Corners in Colorado and visited the Sierras. It’s really beautiful up there in the Sierras.
Latino-Review: Just out of curiosity, where is Paloma?
Jason Momoa: Paloma is actually his mother. That’s the name of his mother. He comes out of hiding to gather his mother’s ashes and he’s taking it back on where life began for her—at the tribe. He wanted to spread her ashes at this lake so the ashes could go down the Colorado River. It’s really about taking her ashes home. And Paloma actually means “Dove” or better symbolizes as “peace.” So it’s a man who’s been hiding and then going on the road. Essentially, it’s like on the road to peace.
Latino-Review: Would you want to direct again down the road?
Jason Momoa: Yeah, I already have my next project in mind. It’s a historical film set in the 1890s in Hawaii. It’s already written. This is likely the next thing I want to direct other than my other acting projects.
Latino-Review: With this film, are you also starring in the next film too?
Jason Momoa: Unfortunately, yes. When I was writing it, there wasn’t that many Hawaiian actors out there. It’s basically my dream role. It’s like a “Braveheart” for me. It’s about my people. It’s not that I want to, but it’s a part of me and I really want to play this role. It’s an amazing and beautiful love story. It hasn’t been told.
Latino-Review: What’s the name of this next project?
Jason Momoa: Right now it’s titled, “Enemy in the Valley.” It’s a story about Ko’olau and Pi’ilani. It’s based in the late 1800s in Hawaii.
Latino-Review: I know my boss would kill me if I don’t ask and I know you’re not going to answer it. I would ask it a different way.
Jason Momoa: [Laughter] I wouldn’t even ask it.
Latino-Review: [Laughter] Very well. I do want to maintain a good relationship with you so you can talk with me for your next movie.
Jason Momoa: There are plenty of interviews that all ask me the same thing.
Latino-Review: No, I just wanted to ask on why you don’t like answering those questions.
Jason Momoa: I actually get annoyed by if you know what I mean. It’s always the same thing and the same question. I can tell you right now—it’s just annoying.
Latino-Review: I figured everyone keeps wanting to talk to you and giving you free publicity to you.
Jason Momoa: No, that’s not why. I really hope people actually see “Road to Paloma” and actually like it. I would like to say it gives more notice if people actually see my film.
Latino-Review: Well, I’ve actually seen it and I thought it was good. Anyways, I thank you for your time and look forward to the wide release of it.
Jason Momoa: Thank you very much, sir.
“Road to Paloma” is available on VOD and Digital Download today.