Were you a comic book fan before making Black Adam?
I am! I grew up in Ireland, and there was one comic book that my mother would send me all the time, and that was Dan Dare. So began my comic-book life, I suppose. I wasn’t really aware of Black Adam, [at the time].
Doctor Fate found me at a good point in my life; having traversed the world of James Bond and having been at the table as long as I have, it felt like a good fit. And Jaume [Collet-Serra] is such a collaborative director—he made me very comfortable and gave me the confidence to portray Doctor Fate. Down to the design of the helmet, I was a participant, so it was an education for me to find out this character was so loved and one of the oldest heroes in the pantheon of comic books.
As a lover of comics, what was it like to step into your first superhero role?
It was a joy to play. You can get overwhelmed by trying to take on this universe. But you let all that go, and you play the humanity of the man who’s burdened with the beauty and the curse of this helmet. He’s shackled to this relic that wields so much power, he’s subservient to it. He tries to live his life with this beautiful trauma of seeing the future of what can happen to humankind. As an actor, if you go to the most human level of compassion, you release yourself from the technical aspects of it and leave it to the audience’s imagination.
You mentioned your “compatriots.” What was it like to work alongside your JSA teammates?