Clint Eastwood Was Apparently The Inspiration For Black Adam As The Rock Gushes About Dirty Harry And More

Clint Eastwood in Cry Macho and Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in Black Adam
(Image credit: Warner Bros.)

While promoting Black Adam, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has been open about the DC antihero’s influence on his life from a young age. That’s why the film was a passion project for over a decade. But the influences on the superhero film don’t stop with the DC universe. The Rock revealed some unexpected inspiration behind the DC character’s rough-and-tumble film debut – Clint Eastwood. After mentioning this surprising inspiration, the Black Adam star gushed about Eastwood’s Dirty Harry and his other classic films.

Black Adam plays into the anti-hero void DC desperately needed filled. Looking back at Eastwood’s early roles, he played the anti-hero with a blend of questionable morals and justice. Growing up with those movies played a role in how the Black Adam team crafted the DC film. The Rock delved into the Clint Eastwood factor while being interviewed by AMC Theaters. He couldn’t help but gush about the multi-Oscar winner’s work.

Clint Eastwood is my favorite actor of all time, and those early cowboy westerns and Dirty Harry 2 [were my favorites]. Our director Jaume Collet-Serra said, ‘why don’t we in the spirit of disrupting, we don’t we make the Dirty Harry of the DC universe.’ And in that spirit would create a lot of dialogue philosophically about what makes a superhero a superhero and what makes a supervillain a supervillain, and what makes a protector a champion of the people.

Dirty Harry is seen as the ultimate anti-hero so, understandably, the cast and crew of Black Adam drew from the macho icon. The DC hero doesn’t question killing anyone who stands in his way, much like the San Francisco police inspector. Harry Callahan was about getting justice by any means necessary with violence and questionable tactics. This is seemingly mirrored in Black Adam’s vengeful rampage against Ishmael Gregor/Sabbac. So, both characters mean well, but their form of vigilante justice can be destructive in the process.

Even Eastwood’s spaghetti westerns blurred the lines between good and bad. The Cry Macho star served as the anti-hero blueprint, on which The Rock based his passion project. Johnson even went to bat for the film to keep in the graphic killing scenes.

Eastwood played rogue cop Harry Callahan across five Dirty Harry films from the 1970s to 1980s. The role not only served as the Oscar-winning director’s career breakthrough but became a cultural icon in the process. His western output like Unforgiven and The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly played into the loner or anti-hero he became famous for. These roles set the tone for action roles that persist to this day.

Black Adam is currently available to watch in movie theaters. The film has been a tremendous success despite suffering from bad reviews. After watching the DCEU film, check out what upcoming movies are still hitting theaters in 2022.

Adreon Patterson
News Writer

A boy from Greenwood, South Carolina. CinemaBlend Contributor. An animation enthusiast (anime, US and international films, television). Freelance writer, designer and artist. Lover of music (US and international).