In June, Observer exclusively reported that Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra was expected to helm Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam for DC Films. Now, with the superhero picture—which will eventually connect with Zachary Levi’s Shazam!—set to begin filming this summer, we were curious for more details. Pre-production is still in its early stages, but cinematographer Lawrence Sher is beginning to formulate his plan of attack for the highly-anticipated blockbuster.
“The good news is we don’t shoot until July. So I’m just getting into the research and development phase of discovering how it will look,” Sher, who scored an Academy Award nomination for his work on Joker, told Observer. “It’s super important to me because every time I set off to make a movie or a new project, I always feel as if I want it to be better than the last thing I worked on. I’m really excited about Black Adam because it’s different than Joker in that it’s slightly more traditional insomuch as it’s really drawing from the comics.”
Sher explained that he has a stack of comic books featuring the Black Adam character that he’s been reading, but it’s still too early to say if one is going to serve as a direct inspiration for the film more than any other. He does know, however, that he, Johnson and Collet-Serra are aiming high. Fans have been waiting a long time for this as Johnson was connected to the property since the mid-2000s before officially being cast all the way back in 2014.
“I know with Jaume and myself and with Dwayne, we do want to reinvent something,” he said. “But when you try to reinvent something and try to push it to the next level, it takes a bit of brainwork to get there. You have to think, ‘How do you crack the code of what’s going to be next?’ I’m still in the code cracking mode on this one. But I have a little time. I want it to be something singular and feel wholly original within the genre. We’ve talked about that.”
The Black Adam character originally made his comic book debut in 1945. Initially, he was an ancient Egyptian imbued with magical powers by the wizard Shazam, though he ultimately decided to use his abilities for evil. Shazam exiled him, but he returned in the present day where he became the primary antagonist for Billy Batson, DC’s Captain Marvel (a character later renamed Shazam). In recent iterations of the character, Black Adam has become a 21st century anti-hero. In December, DC Films and New Line set an official April 2022 release date for a Shazam! sequel.
Black Adam, which was written by Adam Sztykiel (Rampage), will fly into theaters On December 22, 2021.