Jason Momoa was doing a Zoom interview with The New York Times about his upcoming theatrical release Dune and the Netflix thriller Sweet Girl when he was asked a question that he later told the journalist, felt "icky" and "left a bad feeling in my stomach."
Up until then, Momoa answered questions thoroughly and at length, but when it came to a question about a scene that aired 10 years ago on Game of Thrones, in which his character, Khal Drogo, rapes Daenerys Targaryen (played by Emilia Clarke) on their wedding night, he began to withdraw.
Interviewer David Marchese asked, "I don’t know how much you followed any of this, but 'Game of Thrones' inspired a lot of discussion about its depiction of scenes of sexual assault and its treatment of women generally. Do you think differently today about those scenes? Would you do one now? Do you have any regrets? Those types of scenes can seem as if they belong to an older cultural moment."
Momoa responded, "Well, it was important to depict Drogo and his style. You’re playing someone that’s like Genghis Khan. It was a really, really, really hard thing to do. But my job was to play something like that, and it’s not a nice thing, and it’s what that character was. It’s not my job to go, ‘Would I not do it?’ I’ve never really been questioned about ‘Do you regret playing a role?’ We’ll put it this way: I already did it. Not doing it again."
Following the question, Momoa seemed to clam up, responding with a curt "No" when asked whether he would share his vision of Aquaman, then when asked whether he had a memory that came to mind of a time when he took a break from acting, he replied, "Not really for you."
Undaunted, Marchese asked about Momoa's research for Sweet Girl, saying, "What research stood out for you?" Momoa responded, "I don’t really want to talk about big pharma right now."
Taking the hint, Marchese ended the interview, saying, "OK, I guess we’re done. Thanks for taking the time to talk with me."
However, Momoa wanted to get something off his chest. “Yeah, and I wanted to bring something up that left a bad feeling in my stomach. When you brought up 'Game of Thrones,' you brought up stuff about what’s happening with my character and would I do it again. I was bummed when you asked me that. It just feels icky — putting it upon me to remove something. As if an actor even had the choice to do that. We’re not really allowed to do anything. There are producers, there are writers, there are directors, and you don’t get to come in and be like, “I’m not going do that because this isn’t kosher right now and not right in the political climate.” That never happens. So it’s a question that feels icky. I just wanted you to know that.”