Why The Rock Chose Black Adam Over Shazam

Dwayne Johnson has been attached to DC Comics’ Shazam for years, but it was only last September that he revealed that he will play Black Adam in the film. However, he wasn’t always slated to play the antagonist. Originally he had the option to play either Black Adam or Shazam, which is a tough choice either way. Now The Rock has finally revealed why he decided to choose playing the villain over the hero.

When asked by Digital Spy why he ended up going with Black Adam, Johnson stated that it was simply because he thought the character was more interesting from an acting standpoint, with no disrespect to the film’s namesake, of course. Said Johnson:

What made me choose Black Adam? I just felt Black Adam was inherently more interesting to me because I felt there were more layers to Black Adam, starting out as a slave and then ultimately becoming the anti-hero who we enjoy today.

The actor’s passion for Black Adam can be felt by how he’s already mapped out the character’s path in the DC Cinematic Universe. He recently talked about how he can’t simply start out as an anti-hero. Rather, Black Adam needs to start out as a slave, then he gains his powers and uses them to seek vengeance against those he deems deserving. Once he’s worked out most (but not all) of that anger, then he can become the anti-hero that still frequently fights with Shazam and other DC heroes while he attempts to dish out his own brand of justice.

When Black Adam debuted in 1945, he was more of the diabolical super villain one typically expects from a superhero enemy, i.e. trying to take over the world and being evil for evil’s sake. It’s only in the modern era that he’s become an anti-hero who is obsessed with control. His methods are more brutal than most of the DC superheroes, as his need for order will prompt him to take any action necessary against those who threaten the people of his nation Kahndaq, whether it’s supervillains or superheroes acting against his interests. 

As for physical appearance, Johnson already has the look of Black Adam down naturally, which explains why for years there has been fan-art all over the Internet depicting him as the magically-powered dictator. All they need to do is put him in the costume and give him pointed ears, and he’ll be ready to shout the magic word and conjure the lightning. 

Shazam is scheduled to be released in theaters on April 5, 2019.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.