The Rock Reveals His Favorite Actor Of All Time, And The Influence This Person Had On Black Adam

A lot is being made, as we head into the upcoming release of Black Adam, that leading man Dwayne Johnson strips away a component of his acting bag of tricks in order to play this solemn, short-fused anti-hero who gets challenged on screen by members of the Justice Society of America (or JSA). That would be his speaking voice, utilized to its fullest in previous Dwayne Johnson movies. The Rock, when he was in the wrestling ring, worked the microphone like no other. Black Adam is a man of very few words, preferring to “speak” through his actions. It reminded me of a classic silver-screen icon, and when I mentioned this actor to Johnson, he shared more than I expected. 

The actor in question is Clint Eastwood, whose name has come up more than a few times while the Black Adam cast and crew have been doing promotion. Black Adam director Jaume Collet-Serra referenced Eastwood when he described his main character as “the Dirty Harry” of comic book characters. And there are visual cues in the Black Adam movie that will have you thinking about Eastwood’s classic Spaghetti Westerns such as The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. So when I sat down with The Rock to chop up his upcoming DC movie, I asked how much Eastwood influenced his performance, and Johnson told me:

Greatly. Clint Eastwood has always been my favorite actor. Always. And especially those movies in the past. Unforgiven, too, as well. I mean, all of his movies. But especially those Westerns. And I will say especially Unforgiven. He has always been my favorite actor. I had the honor to meet him. He surprised me a few years ago. And it was a true honor. And so, you’ll see that influence.

Clint Eastwood was far too old to play a superhero on screen by the time this current Golden Age of comic-book movies began. He’s content starring in quiet dramas that he also directs, or shifting to wildlife documentaries (because he apparently can’t stop working, even in his 90s). But it’s easy to see how a strong, silent type of anti-hero like Black Adam can draw inspiration from the earlier roles of the Dirty Harry star. Black Adam doesn’t say, “Are you feeling lucky, punk?” But he conveys that sentiment with a stone-faced glance toward the JSA members, and the film’s main antagonist.

Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam

(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

So far, Black Adam has been receiving mostly positive remarks from critics who managed to see the film early, and predictions are solid for the movie’s opening weekend gross. Black Adam will have to make a dent relatively quickly, as it has stiff competition in the rom-com Ticket to Paradise (some counterprogramming) and the behemoth that should be Black Panther: Wakanda Forever arriving on November 11. There are going to be a slew of upcoming DC movies starting to arrive in 2023, so bookmark that link and keep track of what’s on its way for The Flash, Shazam, Aquaman, and more.

Sean O'Connell
Managing Editor

Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. He's frequently found on Twitter at @Sean_OConnell. ReelBlend cohost. A movie junkie who's Infatuated with comic-book films. Helped get the Snyder Cut released, then wrote a book about it.