‘Joker’ DP Says the Goal with ‘Black Adam’ Is to “Reshape” What a Comic Book Movie Is

     December 6, 2019

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It sounds like Warner Bros. and DC’s long-gestating Black Adam movie may be in the mold of the studios’ recent, more bold adaptations as opposed to trying to fit into some pre-defined universe. Dwayne Johnson signed on to play the Black Adam character years ago, initially in a Shazam! movie before it was decided to separate the hero and his nemesis into two separate movies. And because of Johnson’s insanely busy schedule, it’s taken a while for Black Adam to come to the forefront.

But Dwayne Johnson’s superhero movie debut is now a priority, as Black Adam is due to start filming in summer 2020 and has Run All Night and Johnson’s Jungle Cruise director Jaume Collet-Serra set to take the helm. We also recently learned that cinematographer Lawrence Sher—who beautifully shot the recent R-rated DC movie Jokeris onboard as the movie’s director of photography, and at Collider’s recent For Your Consideration screening of Joker, Sher teased a bit about what fans can expect from Black Adam.

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Image via Warner Bros.

During a post-screening Q&A, the cinematographer hinted that we may see a DC movie that’s not entirely unlike Joker when Black Adam rolls around, as Sher said they hope to continue to push the boundaries of what a “comic book movie” is while still making a grand piece of entertainment:

“One of my interests about it is to continue to sort of—and we’ve talked about it with Dwayne and obviously with Jaume and DC—can we continue to sort of reshape what a comic book movie is? Like yes of course you want it to be entertaining and it has to make a decent amount of money so it can’t live in such a fringe place that it doesn’t bring people in, but can we do something inventive? So that’s the goal is to continue to try to do something a bit inventive with it.”

It’s hard to imagine Black Adam will be a gritty, violent, R-rated character study like Joker, but it is interesting to hear Sher say that Johnson and the filmmaking team aren’t keen on making a traditional comic book movie. Collet-Serra has made a career out of drilling down on specific genres in interesting ways, be it a Hitchcockian thriller with The Commuter or a contained thriller with The Shallows, and he clearly knows how to execute exactly what he wants.

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Image via DC Comics

We know Black Adam will be an anti-hero story so that allows for a certain amount of grit or darkness, but we also know Johnson is pretty committed to making films that leave audiences entertained/fulfilled, so it’ll be interesting to see how all of that coalesces in this comic book adaptation.

The team assembled so far certainly bodes well, and with Warner Bros. taking a more standalone/individualistic approach to its DC adaptations with films as divergent as Shazam! and Joker, it sounds like the Black Adam team will have the freedom to make something unique.

We’ll see for ourselves when Black Adam hits theaters on December 22, 2021.

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