Just say the magic word and we are back with another scoop from the land of superheroes. So let’s get into it…Shazam!
While the geek world shifts through all of the various Joker movies that are in development. New Line Cinema. a subsidiary of Warner Bros quietly has been whittling away at their own upcoming contribution to DC Comics on film, with their production of Shazam. The long in development movie, about an ordinary kid who receives the power of the gods, has been gaining speed behind the scenes as it moves closer to filming next year.
Annabelle: Creation director David F. Sanberg has been hired to direct the first big-screen adaptation of Shazam, and he has not been shy about sharing his ambitions for the project in recent weeks. In addition to previously revealing that there’s a finished script for the project, credited to Henry Gayden, he also has confirmed that it would be the next movie to lens for the DC Extended Universe.
It seems that Sandberg is indeed correct and there’s currently a huge casting search underway for the next Billy Batson and Shazam. In fact, we received an interesting update on the project recently and were provided the following description of the Billy Batson role:
Male, 12-15 years old. A teenager who becomes Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal. Granted access to incredible powers by the wizard Shazam, he speaks the wizard’s name and is struck by a lightning bolt that gives him the powers of the gods.
That description of Batson is torn from the pages of the comics and is a firm assertion that the history of the character will be respected in the adaptation. In fact, the film’s working synopsis seems to signal that the comic’s mythology won’t be avoided:
Based on the DC Comics character “Shazam!” Billy Batson becomes Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal, when he says the magic word “Shazam! The name is an acronym for six gods and heroes of the ancient world as well as their attributes. The wisdom of Solomon, strength of Hercules, stamina of Atlas, power of Zeus, courage of Achilles and speed of Mercury.
The synopsis isn’t set in stone but does set the tone for the upcoming movie, which is slated to be Sandberg’s first lighthearted cinematic romp. While the search for Billy Batson is still casting a wide net, it seems that the studio is closing in on Shazam himself.
According to our sources, actor Joshua Sasse (Galavant) and wrestling superstar John Cena (Bumblebee spin-off film) are tentatively the front runners for the role of Shazam. While there apparently was a third dark horse contender that has seemingly fallen out of favor, however that name couldn’t be confirmed. Sasse is undoubtedly the lesser known of the two named actors, however that could work in the studio’s benefit as he could become the face of the hero, without being weighed down by previous cinematic baggage.
On the other hand, Cena is one of wrestling’s most recognizable faces and has steadily been growing his filmography over the past decade. Cena seemingly opened new doors with his comedic performance in Trainwreck, as a dopey, yet lovable bro who was at the receiving end of Amy Schumer’s jokes. That experience will presumably come in handy if he is indeed cast as Shazam. A hero with the power and physique of Superman, but the mind of a pre-teen.
The identity of the film’s villain is still tightly under wraps. It’s been widely reported that there aren’t any overt plans to include the Black Adam character as the film’s primary antagonist, however, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is currently attached to the project as a producer, along with DC Films’ Geoff Johns. It’s unclear how large and in what capacity Johnson will be producing. But it’s worth noting that he typically produces projects that he’s involved in, which would seemingly bode well for potential future installments in the franchise.
The movie is scheduled to roll cameras in the first week of February. This will position it as the next DC film to hit theaters following next year’s Aquaman and it’s kid-friendly nature, could be the perfect palette cleanser before the new wave, or phase, of DC films hits theaters. There is a lot more to come on this one.