When film professional Eamon O’Rourke began his career in 2008, he expected to start rubbing elbows with Hollywood A-listers, but one thing he hadn’t counted on was how much fun the experience could be. Having the opportunity to work with Jason Momoa, known for his roles in Aquaman and Dune among others, was nothing less than a dream come true for O’Rourke professionally. But what he had not expected was Momoa’s fun-loving nature and easy-going personality.
While working as a production assistant during filming of the 2016 movie The Bad Batch, Eamon O’Rourke spent the first week ensuring the film’s top talent that the set included everything they needed and that they could count on their assistants. Though this is fairly standard in the industry, O’Rourke was a bit intimidated by Momoa but was quickly won over by the actor’s down-to-earth and warm personality. “[He is] just this wonderful, wonderful, superwarm guy who has no sense of superiority,” O’Rourke explained. “He’s part of the whole thing. Everyone is part of it too. It’s beautiful. Something that I have learned over the course of working on the first team is that in the beginning, you’ve got to win the actors over in that first week. You don’t want to get too, too close, but you want them to like you. That can look a lot of different ways depending on the actors.”
Now as a director, O’Rourke recalls hanging out with Momoa and other cast members at a cheap hotel toward the end of the first week of filming. “Jason Momoa was having some of the crew and people who were staying in that hotel to his room, [to] drink some beers [and] hang out,” O’Rourke stated, also recalling playing games during off hours and noting that nobody on the set could beat him, especially for games requiring physical speed and strength. The director noted that he was also competitive and wanted to keep working with Momoa. “[I was thinking] this is the moment to win this guy over, to get him on my side for the rest of production. This is it. You just can’t give up,” O’Rourke reminisced.
His strategy worked. “Momoa is just such a nice guy who was great to me and took care of me over the course of that shoot,” he said. “It was a long shoot. It was a hard shoot. We were in the desert. I was his guy. I was his guy from that point on because I had never quit on him. I find it to be one of the most entertaining moments of my career as a [production assistant].”
Playing games behind the scenes isn’t limited to Eamon O’Rourke and Jason Momoa, however, as O’Rourke is known for his capers on set. While filming the 2021 movie Asking for It, several cast and crew members went out together between finishing hair, makeup, and wardrobe and the actual filming process. The cast would walk across the street to the local bar for karaoke night. Star Vanessa Hudgens recalled, “We knew everyone who worked there. It was a tiny town and people didn’t bother us. They loved having us, and the town actually wrote an article in their newspaper about how we weren’t the standard Hollywood types, and we were just so happy we left a good impression on them.” Co-star Alexandra Shipp fondly recalled singing karaoke while still in character, which helped the cast delve more deeply into their roles.
Eamon O’Rourke can sometimes be a bit eclectic by enjoying games during his downtime. He’s a chess aficionado and loves playing video games during quiet breaks on the set, especially on his Nintendo 64. “I love all of the old-school games,” he mentioned during a recent interview. “I like to replay games that I used to play when I was a kid in the same way that I like to watch movies that I’m very familiar with a lot of the time. It provides me deep, nostalgic happiness. I also like newer games and think video games as they have advanced have become a very interesting form of interactive storytelling, and [I] hope to get an opportunity to explore the power of giving the audience agency over how a story gets told more in the future.”