Zachary Levi will join the DC universe this spring when he becomes Shazam, but it almost didn't happen. I got a chance to visit the set of the next DC movie last year and speak with the man who will play the superhero form of Billy Batson, and he admitted that he initially turned down auditioning for the role because he assumed it would a waste of time. According to Levi...
It's not too surprising that Zachary Levi felt he might be wasting his time auditioning for a role like this. Shazam's big antagonist had been cast long before the hero and if your bad guy looks like Dwayne Johnson, then you probably want a hero who at least looks like he'll be a fair match. Zachary Levi, even after spending a lot of time in the gym, still doesn't look like The Rock, and he's also not as big a movie star.
Of course, the truth is that quite often major stars don't get cast as superheroes, superheroes roles make big stars. Chris Pratt is blockbuster leading man material now, but that wasn't the case when he was cast in Guardians of the Galaxy, a role Levi himself once auditioned for. Henry Cavill wasn't a household name before becoming Superman. Zachary Levi is really just following the path that several other have walked before him.
However, turning the audition down once wasn't enough for Zachary Levi, on the set of Shazam! Levi explained that while he may have moved on, the movie hadn't, and once the studio got a handle on just who this character was going to be, it was decided Levi was perfect for the part. Levi goes on to explain:
In the end, it really does seem like Zachary Levi is the perfect choice to play Shazam. He has a youthful energy about him which has been obvious in several of his roles, such as his breakthrough on the TV series Chuck. It's all the more obvious when you meet him in person. He was clearly excited to be playing a superhero in a major film.
Check out Zachary Levi in Shazam! in the most recent trailer, below.
Since Shazam is a 14-year-old boy in a superhero's body, there may be nobody quite as perfect as Levi. Luckily, there were people involved in the new Shazam! film that realized that even if he didn't.
Shazam! arrives in theaters this April.
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