Interview – ‘Black Adam’ producers on working with The Rock on this movie for over 10 years

From New Line Cinema, Dwayne Johnson stars in the action adventure, Black Adam. The first-ever feature film to explore the story of the DC antihero comes to the big screen under the direction of Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise).

In ancient Kahndaq, the slave Teth Adam (Johnson) was gifted the almighty powers of the gods. But he used those powers for vengeance and was imprisoned. Now, 5,000 years later, he is freed and once again wields his dark sense of justice onto the world. Refusing to surrender, Teth Adam is challenged by a team of modern-day heroes known as the Justice Society— Hawkman, Doctor Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone—who seek to return him to eternal captivity.

The hierarchy of the DCEU is about to change, and to celebrate the release of Black Adam – in Australian cinemas October 20 – I had the opportunity to attend the virtual press junket for the film, and here from producers, and long-time collaborators of The Rock, Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia, about how they worked behind the scenes to bring Black Adam to life.

Hiram Garcia, Producer, Dwayne Johnson, Beau Flynn, Producer

What is the collaborative process like with Dwayne Johnson, and what are you looking for when doing a new project together?

Hiram Garcia: Well, Nick, great question! We made a movie in Australia, and we have a great love for Australia! Look, the collaborative process with DJ is the best. DJ is an unbelievable partner. He’s so ambitious and loves the best ideas. So, it makes him a great collaborator.

We’ve made so many movies, and what we always look for in a project is something that is going to resonate with audiences and that’s going to cut through. Something that feels a little bit fresh, that allows us to elevate a genre that we’re playing in, that is going to really deliver something special for the fans! And probably the most important thing is that whatever version of a story we’re ultimately going to tell, that audiences are going to be able to experience some escapism, a bit of wish fulfillment. That’s what we really focus on.

Black Adam has been around since 1945 – what were some changes that you made from the source material when adapting him for the big screen?

Beau Flynn: I think this is a character that we were thrilled to get off the page and put on the screen. It was really important to, even though Black Adam had been imprisoned for 5000 years, that it’s a modernised version of him too, in terms of making sure it fits today’s world.

For us, we really want it to be true at the same time, to the way that Black Adam measures justice and can be very powerful, that we made sure we kept that intact. He can be very aggressive, but at the same time he has a real understanding of morality and code, to his own point of view. It’s something that we wanted to really fulfill, the anti-hero version of a superhero.

 

What was the experience of casting this film like? How did you assemble this team together?

Beau Flynn: This was probably the best time that Hiram had on making this movie, because this is an extraordinary cast! When we were able to secure Pierce Brosnan as Dr. Fate, that was a huge win for us. He was always our first choice for the role and he had not done a superhero movie before. He said all his peers had done superhero movies or Harry Potter movies, so for him to be in this is so cool!

We got to cast the best actors, like Sarah Shahi, Quintessa Swindell and Noah Centineo, who all came in on a chemistry read together. And the minute we saw them together, we knew that was a home run. I mean, we had a blast assembling it, and I think when people see them together, it’s something very memorable and intoxicating.

Hiram Garcia: And of course, Dwayne invested so much into this film. He put everything into his performance. He trained for years to get his physique. And even as a producing partner, he was unrelenting and never settled. He did whatever it took for this film and made great connections with everyone.

You’ve both mentioned many times before today that this is a dream project. What is it like to finally have this moment, the fulfillment of this dream?

Hiram Garcia: Well, dream is used a lot because it is a dream come true! This is something that we’ve been working on for well over a decade, and to be able to bring it life with Beau [Flynn] and Dani Garcia, who’s the co-owner of Seven Bucks Productions, it’s really special. It’s something we’ve been dreaming about and to finally be here and be able to share the film with the world, to introduce Black Adam to the DC Cinematic Universe, it’s really special.

There are so many great heroes out there, and so many great superhero movies. But there’s never really been a character like Black Adam and how disruptive he’s going to be in the DC Universe.

Beau Flynn: It’s hard not to use that word [dream]. I’ve been doing this for a very long time and fortunately, Hollywood has let me stick around. And at the same time, I have had to use every bit of experience and put all kinds of muscle into this movie. This movie really checks every box in terms of level of complexity and in terms of level of execution. I mean, we’re dealing with a genre that’s at the top of it’s game right now, the superhero genre. So, Hiram and I really had to utilise all of our relationships, we put together a crew that have worked with us for the last ten years. We’ve taken it very seriously, from story to production, to post visual effects to really deliver entertainment for the world!

I want to ask about the Justice Society! This is just the introduction, and there is a wealth of source material about these guys. What are you most excited about for the future of the Justice Society?

Beau Flynn: I mean, this is just the beginning. If we have our way, the world will show up and raise their hands for these characters! They’re so cool and dynamic, and complex and interesting. We really did want to tell the story in a slightly different way, with Black Adam leading the movie because Dwayne Johnson is so beloved. He’s got such a likeability, but he can do some hardcore things, and you haven’t really seen that before. We want to take these characters to so many places, and there is an endless array of areas we can go with these characters. We have a roadmap and a whiteboard for all of this!

Hiram Garcia: What we love to do in this space, is make this for the fans. If you’re a fan and you watch this movie, I think you’ll feel things that are done here for the fans. That’s always been Dwayne’s foundation. So, for us to be able to introduce the Justice Society and Black Adam is us wanting to hear back from the fans. All you have to do is research the JSA and see characters who have been in there, who do you want to see stories on, because we’re always listening.

Thank you to Beau Flynn and Hiram Garcia for their time, and to Warner Bros. Pictures for giving me the chance to chat with them! Black Adam is in Australian cinemas from October 20.

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Nick L'Barrow
Nick L'Barrow
Nick is a Brisbane-based film/TV reviewer. He gained his following starting with his 60 second video reviews of all the latest releases on Instagram (@nicksflicksfix), before launching a monthly podcast with Peter Gray called Monthly Movie Marathon. Nick contributes to Novastream with interviews and reviews for the latest blockbusters.

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