Why The Rock Refused To Quit On Black Adam During Nearly A Decade’s Worth Of Delays

Dream projects come and go in Hollywood all of the time. The fluctuations of the market, of an actor’s star power, of the powers that be in the studio decision-making positions… all of these factors can crush a project and halt momentum, making it easy for a filmmaker or star to hop to the next project to keep working. That wasn’t the case for Dwayne Johnson when it came to his upcoming DC movie, Black Adam. Stories attaching The Rock to the role of Black Adam date as far back as 2014, when he circled the part for a Shazam movie being staged by New Line Cinema. A lot has changed since those days, but Johnson’s commitment never wavered. 

Why is that? Even The Rock has hopped around to different franchises (Jumanji, The Fast & Furious) and dabbled in action and comedy, depending on which way the tides turned. Look at our list of the 10 best Dwayne Johnson movies, and you spy a wide variety of topics. But he never gave up on the possibility of playing Black Adam in a DC film. So when I had the chance to interview the Hollywood star about this movie, I asked him why. And he told me:

I had a sense in my gut. I really had a strong feeling that there would be something really appealing about Black Adam to the world. And that, if done right, there would be maybe a good amount of people who could see themselves in Black Adam. But then also, man, if done right, we could really shake up the universe. We could shake up the DC universe.

That appears to be a major goal of Dwayne Johnson with his Black Adam film. Aside from everything we have been hearing about the movie’s end-credits scene, there are huge new additions to the DC universe in this blockbuster. The JSA, including Hawkman (Aldis Hodge) and Dr. Fate (Pierce Brosnan), get introduced in this movie, as well as newcomers Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell) and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo). There are characters we have met in previous DC movies, including Amanda Waller (played by Viola Davis), who seems like she is becoming the connective tissue that binds most of the DC movies together. 

But as The Rock goes on to explain in our video above, it can be difficult for a studio to invest in a property or a character that not every audience member knows. Black Adam has been a Shazam villain, and a thorn in the side of some key DC characters. But building a franchise around him qualifies as unexpected. So we will wait to see how the movie does with mainstream crowds.   

Reviews on the film haven’t been great. Our own Eric Eisenberg admired some of the ideas brought up in Black Adam, but dinged the film for its execution. If any movie star is immune to bad reviews, it’s The Rock. And DC faithful should show up in droves. We’ll have box office reports on the film throughout the weekend, so keep it here on CinemaBlend.

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.