Dwayne Johnson's Wrestling Background Gave Black Adam's Action Scenes A Big Leg Up [Exclusive]

When you're an action star like Dwayne Johnson, your acting process can be twice as involved as it is for an ordinary dramatic actor. Given his background in the physically grueling realm of sports entertainment, audiences expect to see Johnson perform his own stunts. This means he has to spend a tremendous amount of time rehearsing his intricate fight choreography to the extent that it appears seamless when cameras roll. This might not be the acme of serious acting, but it's a heckuva lot harder on your body than playing Willy Loman.

For a performer like Johnson, there's not a more important person on set than the fight choreographer. On "Black Adam," Chris Brewster filled that role. He's one of the top stunt people in the industry, renowned for his work on "The Tomorrow War," "Ant-Man and the Wasp" and Netflix's "Daredevil" series (yes, that incredible one-take hallway brawl is his). And he had a splendid time collaborating with two highly experienced combat artists like Johnson and Aldis Hodge.

A fight choreographer's dream

In an interview with /Film's Jack Giroux, Brewster praised both actors for their ability to quickly pick up complex fight choreography. With Hodge, who has considerable martial arts training, Brewster found the actor easily adaptable to Hawkman's unique combat style:

"For Aldis, Hawkman is somebody who has lived a million different lives and each life he has perfected a different martial art and learned different styles along the way. To be able to teach somebody choreography for Hawkman who didn't have some kind of background in martial arts and somebody who couldn't watch choreography and immediately adapt to that movement, it would've been impossible."

Johnson was a different matter. Brewster didn't get to work with the star until two weeks prior to shooting. The time crunch meant that Johnson had to master his moves as they were taught to him. According to Brewster, that's precisely what he did:

"Most of the fight scenes that he did, we would show him that day and he would watch it and go, 'Okay. Okay, good. So that starts with the right hand and then I grab with my left? Okay, got it.' He had it dialed that easily. His years and years of wrestling and then obviously years and years of being one of the biggest action actors of our time, he's just got it down to a science. It's incredible."

A star who can take his bumps and smile

Johnson's cocky charm might've been an important element of his meteoric rise to stardom in the WWE, but his ring presence would've been irrelevant had he not been one of the most talented physical performers in the company's history. He's been showcasing these gifts to mixed effect since his debut as a leading man in 2003's "The Rundown" (still the best film he's been in), but he generates such goodwill amongst his fans that it doesn't always matter if the movie isn't entirely up to snuff. This is the mark of a true movie star.

Though, honestly, it would be nice if the movies were more consistently, you know, good.