Who should The Rock play?
Friday, August 29, 2014
It's been revealed through several media outlets that Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson is going to be playing either Shazam or his nemesis Black Adam as part of the DC Comics Film Universe, but there's been no official announcement as to which one. Just about everyone I talked to wants it to be Black Adam; of the two, Adam is more complex and interesting character so it makes more sense to use The Rock's talents there than on Shazam, who will likely spend half the movie in his guise of teenage boy Billy Baston. Shazam is also, by comparison, more of a one trick pony. He's all hero, and has some similar abilities to Superman (flight, super strength, etc.). It would be an easy job, one that he could nail down without a whole lot of effort. So which one should he play?
I agree that Black Adam would be the better role to see him in, but if I were a studio head there's no way I'd sign off on that. You want to get the most bang for your buck out of a big star like the Rock, and having him for one movie where gets killed or put on ice at the end won't do that. As Shazam you have him for the Justice League movie coming in 2018, any sequels, and you can give him a solo film before then. You can also can give him a guest spot in any other solo films they have in the works. And then there's the danger that you cast him as the villain, and people like him better than whoever you cast for the hero. That's happened in pro wrestling where the fans prefer the scripted villain to the hero and cheer them instead. With everything that's on the line, that's the last thing you want.
A third angle is this: with the dearth of African Americans with starring roles in these films (so far), and none coming until late 2016 from Marvel at the earliest, would we rather get what we 're looking for from DC at an earlier date or is seeing one of us get to play a serious, layered bad guy in a major motion picture We've seen the Rock play heroes, super or otherwise, plenty of times. Shazam wouldn't be anything new for him. Playing Black Adam may bring more out of him as an actor than he's had to do in a while. I don't really have an answer. I'm guessing Warner Bros. is going to do the no brainer and go for the sure bet. And while that might be less exciting, it could potentially give them a much needed leg up on DC in one area.