On a scorching hot beach about two hours away from Australia’s Gold Coast, 20-year-old Kekoa Kekumano stepped into the scene of a lifetime.

The isolated beach in the middle of nowhere had been transformed into a production site for the major motion picture “Aquaman.” Directed by James Wan, the upcoming action film is the most recent offering in a cinematic lineup of DC Comic classics.

It was an exciting and eye-opening experience for the Native Hawaiian actor from Mililani. “Everything is moving around you, and you’re just standing there. I’m just thinking – this is crazy,” said Kekumano.“How did I get into this?”

Photo: Kekoa Kekumano
Kekoa Kekumano. – Photo: Courtesy

Most days you can find Kekumano on Waikīkī Beach as an ocean safety officer for the City and County of Honolulu. He devotes his nights to hula, performing at the Royal Hawaiian Center for Tihati Productions. However, in his off time Kekumano spends his time on various sets, appearing in onscreen productions such as “Hawaii 5-0” and various short-films. That changed when he landed a role as the teenaged Aquaman, a younger version of the superhero played by fellow Hawaiian actor Jason Momoa in the upcoming film.

Kekumano speaks fondly of his time on the set of “Aquaman,” which was an entirely unique experience. After traveling for two hours in the dark each morning, he recalls immediately being put into hair and makeup.

“What took the longest was the wig,” said Kekumano, who was sent to California to have his long blonde locks fitted perfectly. Special colored contacts were also custom-made for Kekumano, to exaggerate the appearance of the Aquaman character.

It didn’t stop at hair and make-up. Kekumano said that between every scene, a swarm of on-set workers rushed over to make touch-ups and prepare him for additional cuts. The local actor found the overwhelming pressure to continuously perfect every action both intense and exhilarating.

“You want to do the best you can,” especially considering the amount of time, effort and money that is put into a major film, Kekumano said. He credits his mother with constantly pushing him to pursue his acting career. He is also thankful for his agents, friends and family who all help him stay grounded. “They’re my solid support system,” he explains.

Kekumano felt a deep connection between his role in this film and his own love for the ocean, much like the character of Aquaman himself. Truly a waterman, Kekumano continues to spend hours on-duty protecting swimmers on the beaches of Waikīkī and participating in water activities like surfing and canoeing.

“I’m Hawaiian, and I’m proud to be it,” said Kekumano.

Don’t miss your chance to see young Aquaman Kekoa Kekumano in the “Aquaman” movie, debuting December 2018 in theaters around the world.