‘Black Adam’: Dwayne Johnson On Decision To Keep Distance From ‘Shazam’

Dwayne Johnson has never wanted Shazam and Black Adam to debut together. Anyone who has paid attention to the long journey for Johnson at Warner Bros. and DC Films will know that. Remember when he was going to play Lobo?  From the beginning, Johnson has been singularly focused on taking the spotlight either as Shazam or Black Adam. The choice was entirely up to him, and he ultimately chose the latter. But he always wanted the focus to be on him, and to not be a supporting player in his first superhero movie.

So it’s not at all surprising in Johnson’s new interview with Vanity Fair when he says that he didn’t like the original Shazam script because it split attention between the hero and his archnemesis, Black Adam. That wasn’t the route Johnson thought it should go…

“When the first draft of the movie came to us, it was a combination of Black Adam and Shazam: Two origin stories in one movie,” Johnson explained. “Now that was the goal — so it wasn’t a complete surprise. But when I read that, I just knew in my gut, ‘We can’t make this movie like this. We would be doing Black Adam an incredible disservice.’ It would’ve been fine for Shazam having two origin stories converge in one movie, but not good for Black Adam.”

It was a ballsy move for Johnson, because Shazam and Black Adam are inextricably linked. They share the same magical origins for their powers and are often at one another’s throats. But Johnson had that kind of stroke at Warner Bros., and got his Black Adam film done the way he wanted it done…

“I made a phone call. I said, ‘I have to share my thoughts here. It’s very unpopular’ because everybody thought, ‘Hey, this script is great, let’s go make this movie.’ I said, ‘I really think that you should make ‘Shazam!,’ make that movie on its own in the tone that you want. And I think we should separate this as well.’”

Was it the right decision? We’ll find out when Black Adam opens on October 21st.

Travis Hopson
Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.