Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is probably about as close as we will get to a real life superhero (he even has the super power of revitalizing flagging franchises!), so him becoming a superhero on screen is most definitely just a matter of time. And Johnson himself has admitted to this inevitability several times, most recently saying that he was in talks to play somebody from DC Comics, but we just didn’t know which superhero that would be.
But that was before Johnson spoke to Total Film yesterday. When asked if there was any character he wants to portray, Johnson had his usual response of saying that there are plenty of characters that he would love to play, and which fans have wanted to see him play, but which wouldn’t work either because of the type of actor he is (“I am a certain way and my wiring is my wiring”) or because of unavailability (“Jon Stewart was a character I wanted to play, but there was already a version of Green Lantern”). At the end of his answer though, he decided to be all coy and clever, but in so doing all but confirmed his superheroic identity.
“I will say this. There’s a character out there that we’re going to announce very soon that I’m going to play, and I’ll just say this: He has the power of Superman…
…He can throw down…. Just say the word. That’s all I’m going to say.”
And for those of you who didn’t figure it out (and somehow also didn’t read the very headline to this article apparently), it seems rather obvious that Johnson is talking about Shazam (or as he used to be known before DC realized they may be giving their biggest rival some free advertising: Captain Marvel). The magically powered hero is actually the alter ego of Billy Batson, a troubled 15-year old boy who was bounced from foster home to foster home, but is eventually chosen by the Great Wizard of the Rock of Eternity, the last of the original lords of magic, to be his champion. In Shazam’s original stories, Billy was chosen because he was pure of heart, but in the latest New 52 relaunch, the wizard chooses him out of desperation after the troubled Billy proclaims that there are no good people anywhere.
Once he is made champion, the young Billy only has to say the word “Shazam” (get it now?) to summon down a bolt of magic lightning that transforms him into the adult superhero, imbued with immense superhuman strength, flight, and a host of magic based powers. Physically, Shazam is definitely a match for Superman, and since he is pure magic – Superman’s main other weakness besides Kryptonite – the two have often had some epic battles when they found themselves on opposite ends of an argument. Something which happened often due to the fact that this magical god-being possesses the mind of a mischievous 15-year old.
Despite his immaturity sometimes, Shazam is a great hero and also a frequent member of the Justice League, the upcoming adaptation of which is probably where we’re going to meet him (how they’re going to cram all his backstory and the whole magic angle into the movie is completely beyond me though).
Now it has to be noted that Johnson could also be referring to Black Adam, the Wizard’s very first champion, who went bad and used his magical powers to become a dictator. This is a character that Johnson was attached to in the past, but based on the tone of his answer now, I would say that he is probably referring to a superhero more than a supervillain. With San Diego Comic-Con just a few days away now, we probably won’t have long to wait to confirm this either way.
Here’s the full video clip of Johnson answering the question.
Last Updated: July 22, 2014