First announced by DC back in 2014 – and subsequently confirmed by Dwayne Johnson – it’s certainly been a long road to the big screen for Black Adam. But following numerous production and development shuffles, the much anticipated 11th instalment is almost upon us.
Almost a decade later, Johnson finally brings the titular comic book villain – who’s more of an anti-hero in this instalment – to the DCEU, and he’s joined by four brand new heroes known as the Justice Society Of America (JSA), who also make their first live-action debut on the big screen.
To celebrate the upcoming release of Black Adam, I had the huge privilege of talking to the cast and crew of the film, including all four the members of the JSA. Following our Pierce Brosnan and Aldis Hodge interview, we also sat down with Noah Centineo and Quintessa Swindell – who play newbie legacy characters Atom Smasher and Cyclone – as they discuss what it was like facing off against Dwayne Johnson in character and the inspiration behind Cyclone’s movements and powers.
Nicola Austin: Quintessa – Cyclone has such a unique way of moving and expressing her powers, how did you approach this and what was your inspiration?
Quintessa Swindell: First, like when I read the breakdown, for me automatically I just saw her being like a punk. Then I started looking at like how she’s represented in the comics, and I was like ok cool, like I can see it kind of correlate with The Wizard of Oz aspects and that was cool, like musical theatre which I have a connection to and is fun!
And then when I got the project and really started diving into the character development, Jaume [Collet-Serra] told me that he wanted the character to kind of dance. He wanted Cyclone to really have this like physical element to how she emits her powers, and it’s kind of unlike anything we’ve seen a superhero do, because she#’s still finding her rhythm and is still kind of embracing who she is as person, let alone like a superhero.
And so then, because of that, I was compelled to look at so many different types of movements. So I looked at a Chinese martial arts called Wushu, which is very soft, so I was looking at the open hand techniques and the movements with swords, because those are very like sharp movements, but they also flowed and there’s like a path you follow. And then Capoeira I was looking at, in case they wanted to do combat.
There was also a lot of contemporary and classical dancers I was looking at and different dance companies, so I could kind of understand how each dance company moves so specifically. Like when you look at Martha Graham, you know that’s the Martha Graham technique. Like if you look at Alvin Ailey, you know it’s Alvin Ailey. And for me, I wanted Cyclone to be just as specific, just how like any other superhero in any other universe, you look at them or you look at something they can do, and I know who exactly who that is. And for me, that’s what I wanted for Cyclone, I just wanted her to be very specific in her own unique way.
Noah Centineo: You just showed up without any preparation then huh?!
Quintessa Swindell: Sorry that was like a lot!
Nicola Austin: What was it like squaring off alongside Dwayne Johnson in character, as that must have been terrifying!
Noah Centineo: I’ll fight him in real life – I’ll do it now. I know I can take him!
Quintessa Swindell: Get him on the phone!
Noah Centineo: I know I can beat him up – I’m quick. I’m going whoop you’re ass! She also knows Capoeira!
Noah Centineo: Honestly, it was cool. Intimidating for sure.
Quintessa Swindell: But also kind of funny.
Noah Centineo: So funny! He’s great – he’s so disarming as a human being, and he’s a fantastic collaborator, he’s so fun to work with. As Q said, he’s funny, he riffs, he gives you so much to work with and there’s a lot to play off. So, whatever intimidation that you may have, he completely dissolves it.
Black Adam hits UK and Ireland cinemas on Friday 21st October.