By Borys Kit, The Hollywood Reporter
New Line, which has been for over a decade developing a movie on the long-time DC character, will develop concurrently a movie centering on Black Adam, with Dwayne Johnson attached to star as Shazam’s arch-nemesis.
The move stems from last week’s high level meeting with Johnson and DC Films co-head and comics author Geoff Johns, after which Johnson took to social media to promise “hope, optimism & fun.”
Had a very cool and strategic meeting with the heads of DC about their entire universe. As a hard core DC fan, to get a real sense of the tonal shifts and developments coming in these future movies has me fired up. Something we, as DC fans have all been waiting for for a very long time. Hope, optimism & FUN. Even when talking about the the most ruthless villain/anti-hero of all time finally coming to life. Prepare yourselves DC Universe. #KneelAtHisFeet #OrGetCrushedByHisBoot #BlackAdam⚡️
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Jan 11, 2017 at 4:07pm PST
But on a deeper level, the meeting led to a reconfiguring of the Shazam! movie. Johnson has been attached to play Black Adam since around 2008. Since that time, the actor has become arguably the biggest male actor on the planet. To execs, it made no sense to have a man of Johnson’s stature be just a villain and a supporting character in an expensive tentpole. Thus a decision was made to spin Black Adam into his own film.
Adam’s screen take involves him being an anti-hero. And it also mirrors recent developments in the DC comics, in stories written by Johns, where Adam, while still a villain, was fighting against enemies who sought to enslave his people.
No writer or filmmaker is attached to Black Adam. Shazam! has a script that is being worked by Henry Gayden, says one source.
One of the oldest comic characters around, Shazam was originally known as Captain Marvel. The stories centered on Billy Batson, a teenager who becomes the superhero when he utters the magic word “Shazam!” The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury.
Dwayne Johnson Talks About His DC Comic Book Character: