In late 2006, DC approached Johnson to play Captain Marvel, before the character was rebranded as Shazam to avoid legal issues.
However, he also held talks to play Black Adam. Johnson was first cast as Black Adam in 2014 and was in fact billed to play the villain in the 2019 DC movie, Shazam. However, he raised objections to this plan and advocated for a stand-alone Black Adam origin movie.
After meeting with DC executive, Geoff Johns, in 2017, Johnson got his wish as Black Adam and Shazam were separated into two different movies.
Johnson is not new to the big screen, with credits in blockbusters such as the Fast & Furious franchise, Central Intelligence, Red Notice, G. I. Joe: Retaliation, Rampage, Baywatch, and the Jumanji film series.
However, the Black Adam character is a departure from Johnson's usual on-screen goody-two-shoes characters. Nevertheless, the role is a big responsibility with plenty of expectations from fans. Johnson acknowledges the pressure and says he gave it all he's got.
He believes the character is a once-in-a-career opportunity and told Total Film:
I realise, going in, you’ve got one shot, and the pressure’s on. You’ve got to dive headfirst into the fire. Because, also, the superhero genre has been busted wide open in the greatest of ways in our business, and has been responsible for some of the greatest movies ever made. So that’s the measuring stick [you’re judged against].
Apart from playing the title character, Johnson is also one of the producers.
Black Adam is set for an October 21, 2022 release and also stars Aldis Hodge, Noah Centineo, Sarah Shahi, Marwan Kenzari, Quintessa Swindell, Bodhi Sabongui, and Pierce Brosnan in supporting roles.