Both Jason Momoa and Shane Coffey come from TV fandoms — Game of Thrones and Pretty Little Liars, respectively — where secrets can easily get you killed. Coincidently, there are similar themes in Sugar Mountain, in which Momoa and Coffey both star. In the film, Liam (Coffey) and his brother Miles (Drew Roy) are in desperate need of money. In order to get rich quick, they fake a disappearance in the Alaskan wilderness, hoping to cash in on the news story after Miles "miraculously" returns alive.
Of course, a plan like this can only backfire — which is how Liam, accused of causing his brother's disappearance, finds himself face-to-face with vindictive Joe (Momoa) in a prison cell. Since Miles owes Joe money for gambling debts, Joe is pissed TF off that Miles might be dead, telling Liam under no uncertain terms that he will have to pay his brother's dues if he killed him. And by "telling," we mean "beating the ever-lovin' shit" out of him.
MTV News chatted with both Momoa and Coffey to get the lowdown on filming this intense scene. As they explained, Momoa began work on the film in full method actor mode: the future Aquaman refused to shake Coffey's hand upon meeting him and basically treated him like crap. "That only sort of made things better because it added this fear and danger that you get in the film," Coffey said. But Momoa couldn't keep up the charade for too long — once Coffey played "Come on Up to the House" by Tom Waits, their friendship was sealed.
But that wasn't before Momoa freaked Coffey out the second day of filming, pulling up next to him on the side of the highway and demanding he "get the fuck in." Momoa confessed that he wanted to do something different with this role, since it's a type he usually doesn't get to play. Joe's "got that country bumpkin thing going on that I've never been able to play that well," he explained. "I grew up with a lot of these people and I never had the opportunity to play that. It was a lot of fun."
For the pivotal scene, the duo choreographed the fight — explaining it was actually more like "a brutal, violent dance" — and Coffey encouraged Momoa to include some surprise slaps, resulting in Momoa ripping off his sandal and beating Coffey with it. The whole ordeal is sinister and hard to watch, especially because Momoa's slaps are real. But because both actors developed trust for one another and felt safe, the final result paid off. Check out the exclusive clip above.
Sugar Mountain premieres in limited theaters, and is available on both iTunes and VOD, starting December 9.