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New Line Cinema and DC Entertainment are doubling down on comic book hero Shazam.
New Line, which has been for over a decade developing a movie on the longtime DC character, will concurrently develop 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 the actor took to social media to promise “hope, optimism & fun.”
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, he 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 off Black Adam into his own film.
Adam’s screen take involves him being an antihero. 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, according to 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.
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