Justice League Rumors: Dwayne Johnson Out, Benedict Cumberbatch In?
After yesterday's joyful news that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is finally in a superhero movie of his own with Shazam!, today sees some dampening of that initial enthusiasm by having New Line president Toby Emmerich subtly shoot down any crossover hopes with the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe (such as it is).
Dwayne Johnson will be playing supervillain (or #TheAntiHero, as the Rock himself tweeted) Black Adam, a former Egyptian prince named Teth-Adam and recipient of the power of Shazam! In present day, the power has been given to Billy Batson, a little boy who, whenever he says the magic word (it's Shazam) transforms into an adult superhero (named Shazam).
New Line president Toby Emmerich says of the role to EW: "The villain in superhero movies is often, I think, what makes the movie. And I thought Dwayne's take on the character, and the way that he saw Black Adam, was really compelling and fun."
However, he adds: "It feels to me like Shazam will have a tone unto itself. [...] It's a DC comic, but it's not a Justice League character, and it's not a Marvel comic. The tone and the feeling of the movie will be different from the other range of comic book movies."
Technically, he talks about the tone, but the fact that this will be a New Line movie and the incredibly silly concept (Shazam has a villain who is a literal book worm called Mr. Mind and a friend who is a cartoon talking tiger), contrasted with the grim and gritty Man Of Steel... draw your own conclusions!
Meanwhile, Benedict Cumberbatch was dismissive about an "evil" appearance in Batman vs. Superman in a BBC interview, whereas when asked about Martian Manhunter in Justice League, he said he'd "let that rumor run". Hey, stars get asked a lot of these questions and they don't wanna say "no" to everything in the same way all the time.