After giving us a glimpse of the extent of his powers in the trailer, Dwayne Johnson talks about “Black Adam”, a DC film expected on October 19 in our theaters.
Waiting for the return of Shazamon December 21, gives way to his nemesis: black adam ! Chosen for the role even before Zachary Levi does not inherit that of the hero, Dwayne Johnson intends to make a sensational entry into the DC universe on October 19.
And while the trailer has just been revealed, he talks about the project on our microphone, in the company of the director Jaume Collet-Serra (who had already directed him in Jungle Cruise) and producers Handsome Flynn and Hiram Garcia.
AlloCiné: What attracted you to “Black Adam”, and the possibility of staging the Justice Society of America?
Dwayne Johnson : This project is truly a personal passion which will have required me a large number of years to bring it to fruition. With my partners Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn, we gave everything to make the best possible film with Black Adam. If you look at the mosaic of what DC is offering – and that’s what we did with Hiram when, around 2010, superhero movies really took off – we realized that Warner had a plan clear with the main heroes like Superman, Batman and Wonder woman. Or even Flash and Aquaman.
But as we dug more into Black Adam’s mythology and profile, we found there was something really cool and unique about him, including superpowers that most people don’t know about. So we tried to convince Warner of the freshness and strength of this character.
He has the ability to change the hierarchy of powers and, in this, he is truly an extraordinary superhero. Moreover, it was the opportunity to present the Justice Society of America, which was the group of superheroes before the Justice League, and to introduce other equally rich and fascinating characters. We had, collectively, access to all these intellectual properties, and we got to work.
In a world where nothing is truly white or black, I love Black Adam, who is a gray character
Jaume Collet-Serra : It was a fantastic opportunity for me, especially since I didn’t grow up with comic books like Black Adam’s. But we had a very good experience, Dwayne and I, on Jungle Cruise, so I immediately accepted the proposal to continue our relationship with this film. Also, Dwayne had noticed that I only dress in black, so I was the perfect director for Black Adam. We have a similar sense of humor and it was a pleasure and an honor to be part of this adventure.
Dwayne Johnson: Jaume is a very humble person, and that’s why I adore him. He pulled it off like a boss with Jungle Cruise, which was not an easy film, and I knew I could count on him with Black Adam. He is someone who immerses himself in a project thoroughly. He did all the research necessary to fully understand the character, and I am delighted with our new collaboration. What I liked about him are the references he uses in his films.
Here he asked me: “What is your favorite movie of Clint Eastwood ?” I replied that it was Inspector Harry but also Ruthless. Jaume then concluded that Black Adam is “unforgivable” [jeu de mots sur le titre original d’Impitoyable, Unforgiven, soit “non pardonné” en français, ndr] and that he doesn’t forgive, but also has the makings of Detective Harry. It’s kind of the movie we ended up making.
Jaume Collet Serra: In a world where nothing is truly black or white, I love Black Adam, who is a gray character.
Is it so different to play a hero who is precisely in gray, almost an anti-hero? Does it make a difference with your audience?
Dwayne Johnson: It was an opportunity for me to play a very different character from those I’ve played before. There was something about Black Adam that touched me deeply, especially his story as a slave and his family. And finding a director who allows this story to exist and the myth of the superhero to be renewed, recreated, all of that was a unique situation that I could only embrace.
Especially since it is an incredible opportunity to be able to create a character who is half-superhero, half-super-villain. Black Adam walks on a wire between two abysses: the super good and the super bad. And then he’s a hero who’s rooted in love for his family, which is also unique in the superhero universe. In the end, what Black Adam says or does is what he thinks should be done for the good of humanity.
Is it difficult to introduce a superhero so little known to the general public?
Dwayne Johnson: The original idea was to introduce both Shazam and Black Adam to the public. This is the idea we had in mind 4 or 5 years ago. We had also written a script that presented these two characters. But, when I re-read the project, I realized that we had to separate these two films. We had to honor each hero independently. For the fans of the comics, I think it was important to operate in this way.
Handsome Flynn : I remember getting a call from Dwayne at 5:45 in the morning, right after his exercises. He told me that we were going to focus only on Black Adam and his story, his origin. Dwayne has an instinct for this sort of thing, and I knew it was the right move. Dwayne is perfect as Black Adam, especially since this is his first time playing a superhero. I think what makes Dwayne unique and appreciated around the world is his honesty, his authenticity.
Dwayne tells it like it is and the way he feels it. And that’s exactly what Black Adam says and does. We live in a tough world, a world where it’s not easy to be honest and share your feelings. It’s not easy to say things that seem true to you but not necessarily to others. But the world needs a Black Adam, who says things as they seem to him, at the risk of shocking others. I think this film will inspire other people to express their deep feelings, whatever they are, on such and such a subject, even if this opinion is not necessarily popular.
Who will be the members of the Justice Society of America?
Hiram Garcia : What an honor it was for us to introduce fans to the Justice Society of America and its original story. It was a real challenge to find the actors who could do justice to the vision of the comic books. It all started with the casting of Noah Centineo who plays Atom Smasher. But we were also lucky to have Aldis Hodge in the role of Hawkman, who arrived on set in incredible shape, with a solid physique.
Everyone understood the responsibility of perfectly interpreting all these mythical characters. And let’s not forget Quintessa Swindell who plays Cyclone. And the icing on the cake: Pierce Brosnan in Dr. Fate. I think the whole world is going to take their breath away with this panoply of superheroes and supervillains. Thanks to Dwayne Johnson, we had the opportunity to have the best possible actors, with a bond between everyone that really feels on screen.
This is the first time you will see a superhero in a costume without any addition of foam, pads to make it more muscular
Dwayne, you said recently that superheroes have a code of justice: what was yours for Black Adam?
Dwayne Johnson: That of honoring the mythology of Black Adam. As well as being the most authentic and honest in the interpretation of this superhero. But the most important thing is to listen to the advice of my partners and the support of the fans.
Hiram Garcia: Not to mention Dwayne’s physical preparation to look like, to become Black Adam. This is the first time you will see a superhero in a costume without any addition of foam or pads to make it more muscular.
Dwayne Johnson: And I’m ready to continue playing Black Adam in all possible sequels. And the spin-offs. I’m optimistic that we can continue to expand the DC comics universe with Black Adam for years to come.
Finally, what does Black Adam represent for the world in which we live?
Handsome Flynn: There is a real allegory, a real discussion between Hawkman and Black Adam in this film about the meaning of justice, the meaning of the word superheroes and their mission. I believe that this film, beyond its gigantic and entertaining side, raises real humanist questions. That makes it even more interesting.
Jaume Collet Serra: For me, the heart of this film is the family. This is what is important.
Dwayne Johnson: It’s true, where you come from, the amount in your bank account, your religion, your culture, it doesn’t matter: a family is a family, and this all over the world. Black Adam believes in the concept of family, and he will do anything to protect it, whatever it is.
Interview by Emmanuel Itier in Los Angeles on June 6, 2022