Aquaman is going back into the aqua, man, with Jason Momoa set to star in a biopic about Duke Kahanamoku, the five-time Olympic medalist who is credited with popularizing surfing around the world. Kahanamoku was a Native Hawaiian icon who competed at the Olympics as a swimmer in 1912, 1920, and 1924, and while traveling the world for swimming exhibitions, he began to promote surfing as well. He continued surfing for years, eventually segueing his athletic success into attention from Hollywood.
This comes from Variety, which notes that Momoa previously narrated an episode of PBS’ American Masters about Kahanamoku earlier this year (it was called “Waterman,” which is pretty funny). The movie comes from producer Peter Safran, who worked on Peacemaker (which briefly featured Momoa’s Aquaman), and it’s based on a script from Chris Kekaniokalani Bright. The pitch is that the movie will “explore this iconic and gentle man as the legendary swimmer, trailblazer, and the undisputed father of modern-day surfing.”
We don’t know much else about the movie, but Momoa is currently quite a bit older than Kahanamoku was when he was an Olympian, so this will most likely emphasize his post-Olympic career as an ambassador for surfing.
The Duke Kahanamoku movie is Momoa’s second project announced this year about a famous figure from Hawaiian history, with him also working as the star, writer, and executive producer of an Apple TV+ series called Chief Of War about the unification and colonization of Hawaii. That was announced back in April and we haven’t heard anything since, but Chief Of War is going to be one of Momoa’s first writing credits ever and his second big project for Apple (he also stars on See, which is coming back for a third season at the end of this month).