Dwayne Johnson went au naturale for his role in next year's Black Adam. No, not that kind of au naturale — get your mind out of the gutter! We mean his bulging comic book muscles won't be the result of clever costume design, but of Johnson's actual well-toned physique.
“I wanted to come in the best shape of my life. I wanted to raise the bar," Johnson remarked during a recent interview with ExtraTV. "When we tried on the first costume that they had made for me, it was padded. All the superhero costumes are padded. But when you have padding, it actually takes away from your real body, so all this went away and it had this fake padding that looked so terrible. So, we removed all the padding [and] redesigned the costume."
A darker reflection of Billy Batson's Shazam, the character of Black Adam hails from Ancient Egypt. He began life as a man named Teth-Adam, who was bestowed with the magical powers of the wizard also known as Shazam (try to keep up, won't you?). While Black Adam started off as a clear-cut baddie, the years have softened him into more of an antihero. That moral gray area will most likely carry into his solo film, which is set to introduce the Justice Society to the big screen.
Speaking with Collider, Johnson's Seven Bucks co-founder/producing partner, Hiram Garcia, teased the use of groundbreaking visual effects to depict Adam's abilities, which include super speed and flight.
"It’s common to see abilities fall to the wayside when dealing with characters like that, but one of our many goals was to keep continuity there and push the bar in terms of how we do it," Garcia explained. "For example, the technology we're using to make Black Adam fly has never been done before. It's completely unique. It was critical for us to ensure that it felt special, authentic, and real. [Director Jaume Collet-Serra] took that to heart. Our special effects' team are Oscar winners, and we certainly put them to work."
Production on the movie wrapped earlier this month. “I can’t thank you enough from the bottom of my heart for this experience," Johnson said in a message to the crew. "This has been a once in a lifetime for me. I’ve been a lucky, lucky guy to have the career that I’ve been so blessed with. But it doesn’t happen without teamwork and so many of you have been my family members over the years ... Black Adam, it’s a career-definer for me."
Black Adam hits theaters everywhere July 29, 2022.
You won't have to wait that long to smell what The Rock is cooking, though. The wrestler-turned-actor can currently be seen as wisecracking boat captain Frank Wolff in Disney's Jungle Cruise (now playing in theaters and on Disney+).