Black Adam’s Aldis Hodge on Iko Uwais, Donnie Yen, Jet Li and Creating Hawkman Style

Black Adam is the highly anticipated DC antihero film starring Dwayne Johnson as the title character. The final trailer was released last week, giving fans a taste of things to come including a look at the villain, Sabbac. Viewers also got to see the different powers being showcased by members of the Justice Society of America including Hawkman, Cyclone, Dr. Fate, and Atom Smasher.

During a sneak peek event at Warner Bros Studios last week, some of the cast members were present to talk about their characters. Aldis Hodge, who plays Hawkman, talks about how he trained in martial arts since he was a kid, his inspirations including Jet Li, Donnie Yen and Iko Uwais, and how he wanted to elevate the Hawkman fighting style.

The film features plenty of super-powered beings, but there are those with no powers who want to fight including siblings Adrianna Tomaz, played by Sarah Shahi, and Karim, played by Mohammed Amer. The two are resistant fighters trying to help their country of Kahndaq.

Amer describes his character as someone sweet who doesn’t want to get involved with anything, but he’ll fight if someone close to him gets hurt. As for his relationship with Black Adam? He’s definitely terrified of him.

“I’m terrified of [Black Adam],” Amer said. “He’s scary, but you also feel very connected to him in some weird way. You feel safe, specifically for our characters, Sarah and I, for sure. But we just don’t know what we were encountering. What’s happening here? We don’t know that underneath it all, there’s a purity that we’re trying to get to, but do we want to get zapped before that? It’s a lot of risk for that. So there’s just a lot of unknown, and I think the balance of just understanding that there’s something powerful happening and we want to get to it but yet scared to encounter too much.”

“Adrianna, she’s very excited – the fact that he’s there,” Shahi said of her character meeting Black Adam. “And like Mo was saying, meets him with a lot of trepidation at the same time. But she kind of becomes the Black Adam wrangler in a sense.”

The Justice Society of America is a DC hero team that comes in contact with Black Adam, who operates on a different level. Maxine Hunkel/Cyclone is a member of the JSA and is played by Quintessa Swindell, and with Black Adam dishing out his own form of justice, it will raise questions on how the team should handle things.

“I think when she’s introduced to Black Adam, over the course of the film, there’s this bubbling question that happens like, ‘Are we on the right side? And is good and bad so black and white?’ Or is there this gray area that you can function within that isn’t necessarily indicative of how we see justice.” Swindell said. “Are there other means that we can receive justice that works for this group that’s faced such hardship? So that kind of shifts for Cyclone.”

Hawkman is the leader of the JSA, and he will be clashing with Black Adam due to the anti-hero’s version of justice.

“Hawkman has his own sense of what justice is,” Hodge said. “He’s been through different stages with the Justice Society, and leading the team, he has to walk by a code as he leads these other people to walk that very same pathway by his moral ethics and his code. When it comes to Black Adam, Adam does what he wants, based on what he believes in and doesn’t care as long as he gets his job done the way he feels. There’s an understanding of justice, but there’s a different perspective on how to get that justice.”

Preparing to become a superhero in a DC film is a process, and for the role of Hawkman, it involves long hours and lots of endurance.

“When you’re shooting for four or five, six months, it’s an endurance run, it’s a marathon, and you have to really prepare your body for every day,” Hodge describes his training. “I’m wearing my costume. It’s all like 35/40 pounds, and then we’re doing stunts in it. And then in the rig and the wires flying and all that, you got to stay limber, stretch, and workout, and it’s 100 degrees.”

When Hodge found out he got the job as Hawkman, he started to train before traveling to Atlanta. When he arrived, he trained with the stunt team. His typical schedule starts at 4 or 5 a.m. at the gym, bodybuilding for a couple of hours. At 8 a.m., he’s running stunt training, choreography, fights, etc.

Hodge trained in martial arts since he was a kid and he picked up a few different styles. He wanted Hawkman’s fighting style to grow, especially since the man has been through so much as an ancient warrior. He worked with the fight coordinator, Chris Brewster, and his stunt double, David Charles Warren, to come up with the Hawkman fighting style.

“I was like, ‘Alright, cool. Teach me. Because I know what I know. I don’t know what y’all know. So let’s really create something.'” Hodge explained. “So we spent most of that time creating a style for Hawkman to take from here. If we’re blessed to do more, we’d be able to build on top of that and elevate and make something that you haven’t seen in film yet. Because I grew up on action movies. I mean, my dudes are like Iko Uwais, Donnie Yen, and Jet Li. Those are my dudes! I love what they do. Stepping into this, you want to put down an imprint that impressed or inspired you growing up.”

We had a lot of fun with what that was in the approach to not making the powers dominant for because without the powers, Carter Hall is still Hawkman, right? What are the powers? They are an extension of the beast that he is, so we’re flipping it to where he is the weapon in the room. And then when you have the powers, you’re gonna see a completely different arsenal. He’s a one-man army. And that’s the thing that I love is that we get to really change the scope of how we see that portrayed.

About Black Adam

In ancient Kahndaq, Teth Adam was bestowed the almighty powers of the gods. After using these powers for vengeance, he was imprisoned, becoming Black Adam. Nearly 5,000 years have passed and Black Adam has gone from man, to myth, to legend. Now released, his unique form of justice, born out of rage, is challenged by modern-day heroes who form the Justice Society: Hawkman, Dr. Fate, Atom Smasher and Cyclone.

Johnson stars alongside Aldis Hodge (“City on a Hill,” “One Night in Miami”) as Hawkman, Noah Centineo (“To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before”) as Atom Smasher, Sarah Shahi (“Sex/Life,” “Rush Hour 3”), Marwan Kenzari (“Murder on the Orient Express,” “The Mummy”), Quintessa Swindell (“Voyagers,” “Trinkets”) as Cyclone, Mo Amer (“Mo,” “Ramy”), Bodhi Sabongui (“A Million Little Things”), and Pierce Brosnan (the “Mamma Mia!” and James Bond franchises) as Dr. Fate.

Jaume Collet-Serra (Jungle Cruise) directed the film from a screenplay written by Adam Sztykiel and Rory Haines & Sohrab Noshirvani, based on characters from DC, based on characters created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. The film’s producers are Beau Flynn, Hiram Garcia, Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia, with Toby Emmerich, Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Chris Pan, Walter Hamada, Adam Schlagman, Geoff Johns, Eric McLeod and Scott Sheldon executive producing.

Black Adam hits theaters and IMAX internationally beginning on 19 October 2022, and in North America on October 21, 2022.

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