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Quentin Tarantino’s latest movie, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, finally opens in theaters this weekend, over a year after principal photography began. Like every movie production, there were challenges with making Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and one of the more bizarre ones was when Tarantino and Brad Pitt found themselves distracted by a guy who looked like Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Tarantino recalled:
One moment that was kind of crazy, we were shooting Brad [Pitt] driving down Hollywood Boulevard. And it happens all night long, bystanders, who are behind the barricades and just watching the whole thing. Totally great. Well, one of the bystanders was the Aquaman who stands in front of the Chinese theater. Not the Aquaman from what I remember, the Jason Momoa [version]. So, he’s got the whole hair going on and all the tattoos. He’s standing there with a triton. He’s just standing there, boom, he’s Aquaman! We kept going, ‘Aquaman’s watching us!’ I was trying not to look at him, but you cannot not look at him. So I kept sneaking looks to Aquaman as I’m directing.
Part of the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood entailed shutting down Hollywood Boulevard for a few days, but because that’s a public location, naturally there were going to be people watching the movie film. Among the bystanders was a performer dressed as the Jason Momoa Aquaman, not to be confused with the traditional blonde-haired, non-tattooed version people know best from the comics and Super Friends (although Momoa’s Aquaman did eventually don the trademark orange top and green pants).
While the Aquaman movie was still six months away when Once Upon a Time in Hollywood started filming, Jason Momoa’s version of the character had already appeared in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. So the general public was aware of this version of the character, and that Hollywood Boulevard performer was capitalizing on the popularity.
I don’t blame Quentin Tarantino and Brad Pitt for getting distracted, as the director revealed on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. It’s one thing to shoot a movie and have normally dressed people watching, but for a Jason Momoa lookalike holding a “triton” (he means trident) to be part of that group, you can’t help but keep looking back at the man.
Fortunately, Quentin Tarantino and the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood cast and crew were able to get all the shots they needed despite the Aquaman distraction. The production actually shut down Hollywood Boulevard twice: once going one way at the beginning of principal photography for two nights, and then three months later it was shut down going the other way for two more nights.
Sadly, you won’t be seeing Aquaman in any shape or form during Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but Quentin Tarantino’s ninth movie does have a stacked cast. Along with Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and Margot Robbie as the main stars, the lineup includes Kurt Russell, Timothy Olyphant, Dakota Fanning, Bruce Dern and Al Pacino, among many others.