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DUBAI: Mo Amer couldn’t sleep. After more than 20 years in show business, the Palestinian-American comedian and actor’s moment had come – he had finally earned the biggest opportunity of his career: a role in the 200 million blockbuster DC superhero film “Black Adam” dollars.

The next morning he was shooting a scene with one of his childhood heroes, Pierce Brosnan – a former James Bond – and his overwhelming joy ended up earning him four hours of scattered sleep before he rushed to the plateau, running on adrenaline, ready for anything. .

Well, everything except the scene itself.

“I was so excited to work with Pierce, I forgot to memorize my lines,” Amer told Arab News with a laugh.

Sarah Shahi and Mo Amer in “Black Adam”. (Photos by Warner Bros.)

He wasn’t the only one excited. While “Black Adam” is the start of a bold new future for the DC Extended Universe as it evolves beyond Batman and Superman and introduces a host of new characters, it’s the result of more than ‘a decade of tireless work, all beginning when Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson first expressed an interest in taking on the titular anti-hero, inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology and first appearing in comics in 1945 .

“It’s been a long journey, a journey that has been fueled by passion, commitment and courage,” Johnson says.

For those who worked alongside Johnson on the trip, including producers Hiram Garcia and Beau Flynn, who made that first day on set, as Johnson walked in wearing the iconic black suit with a gold lightning bolt across his chest for the first time, a truly emotional moment.

“It felt like a big milestone for us. From the initial idea through the long development process, we worked tirelessly to bring Black Adam to life on the big screen. To see this hard work culminate in bringing it to the stage whereas Black Adam was truly a moment I will never forget,” Garcia says.

“I still get chills thinking about it,” Flynn adds. “What a moment.”

Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone in “Black Adam”. (Photos by Warner Bros.)

While the film positions Johnson as a potential anchor for DC in much the same way Robert Downey Jr. was for Marvel’s first decade, it also introduces a cast of characters who also got their start in the golden age of 1940s comics. – the Justice Society of America – that the film sets up for their own adventures.

“We’ve identified many paths we can take with these characters,” Flynn says, “including Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), Doctor Fate (Brosnan), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), and Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo). Not to mention the number of characters and worlds Black Adam touches.

For each of these actors, it made this experience particularly formative, knowing that they have the chance to become generational stars if the hugely ambitious film fulfills its potential.

Johnson, who created an environment in which people from very different backgrounds felt safe to be with each other, was key to a great performance.

“It’s the greatest blessing,” Swindell says. “I felt so supported in this process, especially by Dwayne. He is so friendly and he really listens. He makes people feel really special.

Johnson’s kindness was invaluable, but it was his tireless commitment that got everyone going from the first moment.

“I’ll give you an example,” Garcia said. “We had an idea of ​​what Black Adam should look like, and with that in mind, Dwayne spent two years on a training program to physically embody this character. And that’s in addition to the research he did for his ‘immersing himself in the comic book story of Black Adam. It was a colossal undertaking, but his drive and focus were paramount. His wit, mana and devotion are second to none.

Johnson and Co. also took steps to ensure the character’s Arabic roots were respected, although the film shifted its Egyptian comic book origins to the fictional Arab town of Kahndaq. Amer – the creator and star of Netflix’s semi-autobiographical hit series “Mo” – has long been outspoken about Arab portrayal and assured that he would not be a token character fitting into Arab stereotypes. Instead, he is the heart of the film.

“Not only did he smash that role, he also became one of our most trying characters. His comedic nature provided the perfect amount of levity to a film that we rooted in edge and darkness. audience will love it,” says Flynn.

“We were really trying to create something powerful and new and fresh,” says Amer. “There was never a symbolic Arabic joke that I had to change. Everyone was aware from day one. It was so refreshing. I can’t even tell you. I get emotional because I I’ve been in this game for a long time. In every way, I’ve never experienced anything like it. It’s really amazing.

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