The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson on playing superhero Black Adam
The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson on playing superhero Black Adam

‘It’s a huge moment as a DC fan’: The Rock aka Dwayne Johnson on playing superhero Black Adam

Dwayne Johnson speaks with Adam Stone about playing the superhero Black Adam and what made it difficult to get the look right

Everyone knows Superman and Batman, but perhaps not Black Adam. Where does he fit into the DC Universe? Black Adam is basically the Dirty Harry (from the 1971 film of the same name, starring ClintEastwood) of the DC Universe. He’s an anti-hero and does things that most superheroes would never do. He basically cares only about the people he loves and will do anything to protect them. He is loyal, and he’s a champion, but he’s also disruptive. In terms of powers and abilities, he’s about equal to Superman, but the core value system is different. Black Adam cracks open the DC Universe beyond all that we have seen. He is a game-changer, not just as a character, but because this move introduces five new superheroes that make up the Justice Society of America, which is a group that pre-dates the Justice League by years.

How long did it take for you to bring Black Adam to the screen?

It’s been over 10 years. It feels like everything I have done in my career has led to this point. This is a huge moment for me as a DC fan as well.

How long have you been a superhero fan?

Since forever. I grew up a DC boy watching Superman and Batman cartoons on Saturday mornings. I always read the comics and then one day, I got my first Black Adam comic and it changed my life. Here was a superhero with brown skin. I had never seen anything like that, and have wanted to be Black Adam from that point.

What was it like when you finally put on the costume and walked out on set as Black Adam?

I have to admit, I was more than a little nervous, but then saw the rest of our amazing cast in costume and all that went away. It felt awesome to finally play a character that means so much to me.

Did you have to undergo any additional training to get into the superhero shape?

I did. I had to change my routine quite a bit. I wanted to get the look dead right, and it was tough because there wasn’t any reference other than the comic books. It took a lot of working out and eating the right stuff. And let me just say that’s all me in the suit. There is no padding.

You mentioned how Black Adam is like Dirty Harry. Is it true that you partly based your performance on Clint Eastwood?

That is true. I was inspired by Eastwood, who is also my favourite actor. There is a lot of Clint in Black Adam, and I make no excuses for that. The good, the bad and the ugly––he was a big influence on me.

Everyone is excited at the prospect of a Black Adam versus Superman showdown. What can you tell us about that and who do you think will win?

All I will say is that when we started this, we knew where we were headed. Between Black Adam and Superman, let’s just say it’ll be a close fight. Black Adam is pound-for-pound about as close as you will get to Superman.

You worked with Jaume Collet-Serra on Jungle Cruise, a fantasy adventure film. What do you think made him the right director for Black Adam, a very different movie?

It is different, but Jaume had the passion and the vision to make Black Adam in the way it needed to be made. I loved his hunger to succeed when we were doing Jungle Cruise. This character is a huge departure from anything else I have ever done in my career, so I needed someone like Jaume to have my back. He really helped me.

What would you say is the closest you have to a real-life superpower?

I just try to be a nice guy, to be kind and positive. That’s all I’ve ever done throughout my career.

What keeps you motivated after all these years in the business?

The support of my family and friends and, most of all, the memory of some hard times I had as a kid. It’s been a long road from being evicted from our home in Hawaii, but I will never forget that time, no matter how lucky I get.

What do your children think of having a superhero for a dad?

Well, they’re a little too young to see this, but they have seen me in costume and they love it. It’s special.

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