Dwayne Johnson and director Jaume Collet-Serra shake up the superhero genre with black adam, promising an exciting new experience for movie buffs and DC fans alike.
It’s been almost 15 years since Dwayne Johnson first expressed interest in the role of DC Comics anti-hero Black Adam, though eventually Warner Bros. chose to develop the Shazam! version of the same mythology first, with this film hinting at a future Black Adam movie via a hologram of Johnson’s likeness as the character.
But eventually, Johnson gets his superhero moment, remembering how sweet he was when he first put on his supersuit. “It was time to rock and roll for our camera test and it was unforgettable because at that time I became Black Adam. It was very special,” he recounts.
It’s been a long wait, but Johnson thinks there’s never been a better time for him to make his big-screen debut as one of the universe’s most feared and powerful characters. DC. Or, as black adam director Jaume Collet-Serra says it, “Black Adam is the Dirty Harry of superheroes.”
The film explores how Teth-Adam developed a warped version of justice during his traumatic 5,000-year imprisonment in ancient Egypt. Once he gains his powers, he uses his newfound power to wipe out criminals from the face of the Earth, setting him on a collision course with the Justice Society of America, who are unwilling to accept the existence of a meta-human who kills other people, even criminals.
Collet-Serra was drawn to the dark side of Black Adam, which sets him apart from your faultless supes.
“I’m drawn to characters who walk that fine line between doing the right thing and doing what needs to be done,” says the director. “I saw a character right away who looked a lot like those who, when the system breaks down, are able to do justice in a way that others couldn’t. I felt like to not have seen that in the superhero space and that, to me, was very exciting.
Collet-Serra’s take on Black Adam as an outsider rolling around town and becoming the principled rule breaker is a staple of the Western, lonely cop genres. It’s an original take that he hopes will satisfy movie buffs and comic book fans alike.
Not only does Johnson see Black Adam as the role of a lifetime, but also one he thinks will reverberate throughout the DC Extended Universe.
“It’s rare to get the opportunity to introduce something completely new, from scratch, into the superhero mix, and that’s what black adam is,” he says. STACK.
“We all wanted to make a movie that was different and unique in the superhero genre that has been so successful over the years and has driven our business for over a decade. Going in and trying to make a disruptive movie was different. And there was this narrative that we were telling, even when we were making the movie, that we wanted to usher in a new era in the DC Universe,” says Johnson, who co-produced black adam as well as those of 2019 Shazam!
“When I say, ‘The hierarchy of power in the DC Universe is about to change,’ it sounds bold, but I say it with real reverence and respect for the DC Universe. True fans know the qualities that Black Adam was blessed with, powers that shift the balance of power, and when you break down those qualities and powers that Black Adam possesses, you realize it’s rooted in truth.
In effect, black adam also introduces another Seven new characters to the DCEU. “And it’s not easy to do, and also to do it with intrigue and interest and respect for the mythology for DC fans,” he says, referring to Pierce Brosnan’s Dr. Fate, Carter Hall/ Hawkman by Aldis Hodges, Al by Noah Centineo. Rothstein/Atom Smasher, Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone by Quintessa Swindell, Adrianna by Sarah Shahi, Ishmael Gregor/Sabbac by Marwan Kenzari and Karim by Mo Amer, Adrianna’s brother.
“As you know it, black adam is not a sequel. It wasn’t even an existing IP that everyone knew about – all of these characters come to life for the very first time in movie history. I think it’s so cool and makes me so proud and honored to be among this group.
“There were a lot of things to balance that I think we all took responsibility for, and everybody really wanted to make a great movie, and also make something that was just different and reflected all of our characters. And something that examines philosophical differences – everyone has a philosophical difference in the film, but no one is wrong,” he adds.
• Black Adam hits theaters October 20