It’s been nearly 15 years since he first expressed interest in playing the character but now, Dwayne Johnson is gracing our screens as Black Adam.
Since it was first announced, the project has taken on several different forms.
However, despite the long wait, Johnson’s long-time producing partners Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn believe that the finished film has arrived at exactly the right time.
“There’s been so many versions of this film – it’s been a long process trying to figure out how to manage this property and when to make it”, Flynn explained to Zavvi.
“We were developing a project that was going to launch both Shazam and Black Adam, but there were so many struggles in integrating both of those characters into a coherent script, we could never get it to where it needed to be.
“After one particularly stressful day, I received a call from Dwayne, who had the simplest solution: let’s do two separate movies and focus on launching Black Adam.
“It was the big turning point we needed and suddenly everything came together in a beautiful, seamless way. And when Jaume Collet-Serra came on board as director, we got the final big shift necessary to get this made.
“He had this vision of the movie where he saw Black Adam as a Dirty Harry-meets-western kind of character – that was the last piece we needed. It’s when the film really started cooking, we were ready to rock and roll!”
But while this origin story no longer needed to introduce us to Shazam (who got his own film in 2019), it still sees the Justice Society Of America (JSA), staples of DC comics since the 1940s, make their live action screen debut.
It’s here we’re introduced to Carter Hall, a.k.a. Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Kent Nelson, a.k.a. Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan), who alongside the rest of the JSA aim to stop Black Adam’s rampage after he’s unleashed into the modern world following 5,000 years of imprisonment.
For Brosnan, who is no stranger to stepping into the shoes of iconic characters, there was no nervousness about doing justice to the role of Doctor Fate, although with his sons being comic book fans, he knew there was a “responsibility” to get it right.
He told Zavvi: “I know the fanbase is strong and passionate, but you have to step away from all that if you want to get it right. Playing Kent Nelson, I started by looking at his backstory.
“It’s out of my realm as an actor and as a man, but I can identify with the conflict of his heart and the responsibility he has.
“All you can do as an actor is play what’s on the page and bring your own humanity and passion to it – not focus on what the reaction is going to be.”
Brosnan has joked that Black Adam was one of the most challenging films he’s ever done because he had to wear a motion capture suit for his transformation into Doctor Fate, a new experience for the star.
“I’ve been an actor all my life, I know what it’s like to wear many different hats and costumes – but having faith in yourself in this tight-fitting motion capture suit is a new challenge.
“Trying to move physically and create bodily movements in it can be tough, but luckily, I was in Mamma Mia, I know what it’s like to have to squeeze into spandex, it was just a lot tighter this time!
“You have to put a lot of faith into the team for how they’re going to create Doctor Fate’s costume and appearance on-screen, but you also have to try and not think about that.
“My lifesaver was really the kinship between him and Hawkman: I clung to their friendship and his relationship with the rest of the JSA.
“I was grateful to be invited into this world by Dwayne and to have the company of everybody here was one for the books. It was an experience I hold dear to my heart.”
Co-star Aldis Hodge has previously been a part of the DC universe, having voiced Green Lantern in the animated film Green Lantern: Beware My Power earlier this year.
So naturally, he was ready for the challenge of playing the JSA leader in this new film, which he believes is “one of the coolest opportunities” he’s ever had.
Speaking to Zavvi, Hodge said: “I ran into this project with great excitement, because I think we all understood just how cool this could be.
“And with that, you don’t want to live in the fear of what might happen if we get it wrong and the fans don’t like it – you want to live it to the fullest extent by enjoying every possible second.”
The future of Black Adam as a franchise has been one of Hollywood’s worst kept secrets, with Hodge having previously been quoted that he’d love this film to be the start of a trilogy building up to a superhero showdown.
Naturally, he’s adamant that he was misquoted – but that doesn’t mean he isn’t vocal in his eagerness to return to this world.
“I can’t talk about this as an actor, but as a fan, I know what I would love to see in a future film. I would love for it to explore more of Carter Hall’s history and the early stages of his relationship with Kent Nelson.
“But it’s all early days, so I can only speak on this as a fan and say that it’d be awesome to dip into all of that.
“I need to stress, these are just my hopes – I would love to see a trilogy of course, but if you haven’t heard about it from the corporate office, then you haven’t heard anything official!”
After spending nearly 15 years trying to get Black Adam made, Garcia and Flynn are relieved that the film is finally about to be out there and are happy that the “pressure (we) put on ourselves” has paid off handsomely.
“We’ve watched every superhero movie and every time we’d see that as fuel”, Garcia added. “We were never nervous about ours but became increasingly motivated to make something even better and more creative, for ourselves as much as the fans, who have seen all of these films as well.
“We were building up Black Adam and the JSA from scratch, there was no legacy inheritance – but starting with them, we’ve managed to build something that I think really stands on its own within an already extraordinary genre.”
Attention is already shifting to Johnson’s plans for a sequel, which he has teased will see Black Adam face off against Superman.
Asked to give a quick one-word answer as to who would win that match, Flynn said simply: “I can’t answer that – Black Adam is two words.”
Black Adam is released in theaters from October 21.