‘Black Adam’ director claims Dwayne Johnson won’t just be playing himself again

black adam
Image via DC Films

Dwayne Johnson‘s acting career has come a looong way since he was a CGI scorpion man in The Mummy Returns. Over the past 20 years, The Rock has transformed himself into one of Hollywood’s most reliably successful leading men thanks to his carefully cultivated strategy of basically playing the same part in every single movie, from Rampage to Red Notice. But, apparently, he’ll get to stretch his acting muscles as well as his, you know, regular muscles in DC’s Black Adam.

As per Entertainment Weekly, director Jaume Collet-Serra ⁠— who previously worked with the star on Disney’s Jungle Cruise ⁠— has promised that the upcoming DCEU film will give Johnson a chance to show a different side of himself as he makes his debut as the titular anti-hero, a character with a much darker outlook than we’re used to seeing from The Rock’s quip-happy action heroes. The filmmaker explained:

“In a lot of movies, you have a good guy and a bad guy, and those lines are clearly defined. Here, they’re not so clear. You like both sides, and you understand both sides, but it really puts it up to the audience to choose which side they agree with. It’s almost like getting to see a completely new DJ.”

You’d hope that playing Teth-Adam would provide Johnson with some fresh challenges as a performer, considering how long he has been trying to get this movie off the ground. The Rock was first linked to the character back in the late 2000s if you can believe it, although his casting in the DCEU wasn’t officially confirmed until 2014. Since then, the film has been hit by developmental delays, COVID hold-ups, and more but, at long last, it’s finally on its way this fall.

And while Johnson might not be filling the role of the wholesome hero this time around, Black Adam will still include some good old-fashioned card-carrying superheroes in the form of the Justice Society of America, who it appears Adam will reluctantly team up with. Aldis Hodge is Hawkman, Quintessa Swindell is Cyclone, Noah Centineo is Atom Smasher, and Pierce Brosnan is Doctor Fate.

We’ll find out if Collet-Serra’s telling the truth when the movie hits theaters Oct. 21.