“Justice League” opens this weekend, and one of its stars is Hawaii-born Jason Momoa.
The role has pretty much solidified his status as an A-list actor, but it wasn’t long ago that we saw Momoa first hit the screen with his big break on “Baywatch Hawaii.”
Younger fans will know him as Aquaman, but nearly 20 years ago, Momoa was fresh on the scene as baby-faced lifeguard Jason Ioane.
Momoa was one of three locals to get a starring role on the show, beating out thousands of hopefuls.
“My reaction, I was completely shocked,” Momoa told KHON2 in 1999. “I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy in my life. I was running all around the place.”
Before he was picked, Momoa admitted he wasn’t a perfect candidate for the role physically.
“Basically I need to work out, a little too thin,” he said.
To add some muscle, Momoa lifted and ran heavy stones in the waters off Makaha. He gained 10 pounds of bulk.
But really, compared to now, is that even the same person?
Momoa was only on “Baywatch Hawaii” for two seasons, but it gave him the exposure he needed.
“Their lives will not be the same, nor will it be the same for the rest of their lives,” said co-executive producer Greg Bonann. “They’ll always be the Baywatch kids.”
Since the show, he’s been Conan the Barbarian, Khal Drogo in “Game of Thrones,” Ronon Dex in “Stargate Atlantis,” and now Aquaman.
“I love the acting. They haven’t complained yet, so obviously I’m doing something right,” he said.
Momoa’s star isn’t done rising. Aquaman has his own solo movie coming out next year.