Jason Momoa thinks the Super Bowl just might do wonders for his comedy career.
The actor is best best known for his turns in action-heavy projects such as “Aquaman,” “Dune” and “Game of Thrones,” but gets to shake it all off in a new T-Mobile Super Bowl commercial. He will be spotted dancing to Irene Cara’s “Flashdance… What a Feeling” alongside Zach Braff and Donald Faison, the actors who have been part of the company’s Super Bowl efforts for the past few years. Momoa gets doused with water, hits a few high notes in song, does a flip and even meets Jennifer Beals, the actor who starred in the “Flashdance” movie.
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“People are just seeing a different side of me,” Momoa tells Variety in an interview, while noting that he’s primarily “known as a dramatic actor” due to the roles he won early in his career. But in commercials he has done for Rocket Mortgage and others, he gets to play things for laughs, he says: “People reach out and ask me to do some funny stuff.”
Faison and Braff have seen a lot of interesting Super Bowl scenarios over the years. In 2023, they were joined by John Travolta, who helped them sing a parody of “Summer Nights,” the popular tune from the 1978 movie treatment of “Grease.” In 2022, they staged a reunion of their popular sitcom “Scrubs” by joining together in a spoof version of “I Feel Pretty” from “West Side Story.” The ads, says Braff, spur people to come up to him and ask for nitty-gritty details about T-Mobile’s various consumer plans. This commercial, for T-Mobile’s home internet service, could prompt new ones.
Constructing and burnishing a familiar theme can help a Super Bowl ad stand out. Viewers know a little bit about what they can expect and already have some knowledge with the commercial, like how CareerBuilder for years ran ads featuring chimpanzees as office workers, a theme that resonated with viewers.
But no one can rest on their laurels. “It has to be bigger and better,” says Braff.
The two actors say they truly enjoyed working with Travolta, but Momoa brought new energy to the project. “He was so fun, so high energy, in such a silly mood like we always are. I think it really shows,” says Faison. “It’s kind of like a rock musical in a lot of ways when he jumps on board.”
Planning for the shoot started in semi-earnest last fall, when Braff and Faison were hanging out with Brian Klugman, the head of creative for Panay Films, which has helped devise T-Mobile’s recent Super Bowl efforts. Braff says he and Klugman mapped out a new scenario in case the company called on them to return to the Big Game –- never a guarantee.
“If you’re not a Clydesdale, that doesn’t happen,” says Braff of getting three different Super Bowl chances.
The trio used a smartphone to record an early draft of the idea, and even made some behind-the-scenes concepts to go along with it. When T-Mobile executives saw the concept, says Braff, “They didn’t have one note. They didn’t tweak a thing.”
The ad even gets a boost at the end when Beals turns up. Faison has known her for years after working with her on Showtime’s “The L Word,” and says her knowledge of the “Flashdance” tone was essential. Besides, he adds, everyone got a kick out of “watching Momoa ask her for tips.”
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