'Conan the Barbarian's' Jason Momoa: 5 Things to Know

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Jason Momoa makes his first major big screen appearance in a big way with Conan the Barbarian. Momoa plays the sword-swinging hero in the Lionsgate film, which hit theathers Friday, Aug. 19.

The Hawaii-born actor and model has appeared on several television shows, including Stargate: Atlantis and most recently HBO’s Game of Thrones.

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Here are 5 things about the rising star, who is well on his way to being a household name:

1. Momoa, who was born in Hawaii and raised in Iowa, returned to Hawaii in 1998, and won Hawaii Model of the Year in 1999. The nephew of sufers Brian Keaulana and Rusty Keaulana, Momoa starred in Baywatch: Hawaii for several years as Jason Ioane.

2. Momoa first caught nationwide attention with his role on Stargate: Atlantis as Ronon Dex. He had dreadlocks on the show, mainly to change his image after Baywatch: Hawaii. "I dreaded my hair because I don’t want to be the pretty boy and the hunk," he told CinemaSpy. When he cut them off on hiatus between season four and five, he had gotten permission from producers. However, the production later decided they wanted his character to keep the dreads, so he wore a wig.

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3. The actor, who is part Hawaiian, used his heritage to get roles in both Game of Thrones and Conan the Barbarian. He performed a haka — a Polynesian war chant –during the audition. "I just wanted to show them that if you are going to look any great king or warrior in the eye, here is what their soul is," he told the Honolulu Advertiser. He was asked to perform it again for another casting group, and one person in that group was working on the new Conan film. Thus, he caught their eye, and eventually landed the role in the film.

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4. Momoa, who has two children with actress Lisa Bonet, was in a bar fight in in 2008. A scar can still be seen on his eyebrow. "It was crazy," he told Access Hollywood of the incident. "A guy smashed a pint glass in my face. I got a little over 140 stitches in my face. It helped get those mean roles.”

5. Not only is he an actor and model, but Momoa plays guitar. He showed off his skills at the Stargate convention in Burbank in 2008. He auctioned off a guitar for the Make A Wish Foundation.

Watch Jason Momoa playing guitar:

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