DC has locked in a new leading man.
Zachary Levi is set to star in a film adaptation of DC Comics’ Shazam!. The film will be part of the wider DC universe of films that just recently began to take more concrete shape with this summer’s Wonder Woman.
Levi, who has a noteworthy resume on television (Chuck, Heroes Reborn) and in film (Tangled, Marvel’s Thor sequels), will be playing one half of the lead role in Shazam!. The story is centered on a regular boy named Billy Batson who, by uttering the literal magic word ‘SHAZAM’, can transform himself into a costumed adult (to be played by Levi). ‘SHAZAM’ itself is an acronym of the names of six ‘immortal elders’: Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury. Batson is imbued with powers from these ancient figures upon metamorphosis into Shazam!.
David F. Sandberg will direct Shazam!. Sandberg is known for films like Lights Out (generally bland) and Annabelle: Creation (we didn’t review it, but critics generally liked it more than the former). Sandberg continues a New Line partnership at the helm of Shazam!, but it will obviously be something a little different from his usual horror fare.
Levi’s statement, released through Instagram, expressed gratitude and happiness over the role, writing, “Honored and greatly humbled to be a part of the #dcuniverse by bringing the original Captain Marvel to life. I am beside myself with gratitude, not only for this opportunity, but also the incredible outpouring of love and support from so many of you out there in the world. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the gym for the rest of forever.”
There were other actors in the running for the role of Shazam! too. John Cena reportedly met with Sandberg, while Derek Theler (ABC Family’s Baby Daddy), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Billy Magnusson (Bridge of Spies) and Jake McDorman (CBS’s Limitless) were all considered.
Earlier this year, Dwayne Johnson confirmed that a Black Adam film was in development, splitting Shazam! from his iconic nemesis. Although, evidently not for long. As Johnson said in an interview with MTV:
“So what we decided to do was actually create a scenario where Black Adam is having his standalone movie, Captain Marvel/Shazam will have his standalone movie, and then we’re building our world up that way and then we can come together at some other point.”
Shazam! will be the next DCEU film to begin shooting, putting the film ahead of the likes of Flashpoint, Batgirl, and the Suicide Squad sequel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, New Line is looking to start shooting the film in Toronto in February 2018 for a tentative 2019 release.