Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's solo Black Adam film is moving a little closer to production, as the DC supervillain solo film has just recruited a new screenwriter, Adam Sztykiel (Due Date).
Black Adam is traditionally a nemesis of Shazam, and when it was announced Johnson would take on the role, it was assumed by most he would debut in David F. Sandberg's 2019 big screen iteration of that hero (which recently cast Chuck alum Zachary Levi as its titular hero). However, Johnson will reportedly not be present in that film, as the villain will get his own film before taking on the rest of the DC cinematic universe.
That solo outing still doesn't have a release date or director, but it does have a writer. The Tracking Board is reporting screenwriter Adam Sztykiel is in negotiations to pen the film. At first glance, Sztykiel seems an odd choice to tell the decidedly dark story of Teth-Adam, having worked primarily as a writer of family-friendly comedy films like Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Road Chip and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul, as well as broad network sitcoms like NBC's Undateable, which he created.
It's worth noting that Sztykiel has also worked on more adult-oriented comedy fare, like the 2010 road-trip romp Due Date, which starred Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis, and some of the best superhero movie talent out there has come from unexpected places. Anthony and Joe Russo, the breakout hit directors of several Marvel Cinematic Universe movies, were best known for the their work on TV sitcom Community before they helmed Captain America: The Winter Soldier.
Both Black Adam and Shazam are co-productions with New Line, who at one time made their desire for the world of Shazam to be a bit more family friendly than the likes of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. That would likely work fine for Shazam, but a family-friendly, good-humored Black Adam movie is likely a tougher sell.
Black Adam has been around for over a half century, but the character experienced a massive resurgence in popularity in the early 00's when he featured in the Justice Society of America comics written by current DC Films mastermind Geoff Johns. That version of Adam was more of an anti-hero than a villain, fighting against his darker impulses in an attempt to redeem himself. He would ultimately give in to those darker impulses in the face of great personal tragedy. It was a character-defining run, and likely one of the primary reasons a movie version of the character is being pursued. Let's hope that Sztykiel and the rest of the behind-the-scenes talent can do Black Adam justice.
Source: The Tracking Board