Before we ever got our first official look at Shazam!, images from the set were leaked showing off Zachary Levi’s superhero. These images prompted criticisms that the actor was wearing a padded suit to attain the superheroic physique of the character, and from then on the suit and Zachary Levi’s body became a weird point of discussion for some surrounding the film. And while Zachary Levi previously fired back at the critics, he now admits that his Shazam suit was ‘a liiiiiittle padded.’ Take a look:
The conversation around fake muscles largely dissipated after Shazam! came out and proved to be one of DC’s best movies, but a fan mentioned it again on Twitter in response to Zachary Levi’s advice to eat your Wheaties if you want to be Shazam. The fan was still miffed over the doubters who body shamed and lobbed padding accusations at the actor and David F. Sandberg’s Shazam!. So with the film already a success and a fan defending him, Zachary Levi finally spills the beans.
The actor comes clean and admits that Shazam’s physique wasn’t 100% Zachary Levi and that there was some padding used to fill out that suit. Zachary Levi has some fun with this confession too, downplaying the quantity of padding in the Shazam suit. He stresses how little padding there was, but it was most certainly padded and those shrugging and smirking emojis indicate he may be using a loose definition of ‘little.’
As far as I’m aware, Zachary Levi never outright said that there was no padding whatsoever in the wildly expensive Shazam suit. In response to the critics he would usually shrug it off or show proof of what he was doing to get in shape for the role, and get in shape he did. The actor was in the gym constantly and eating tons of clean calories in order to bulk up and attain the necessary physique.
There is plenty of evidence that Zachary Levi trained hard and put on some real muscle for Shazam!, but that was apparently not quite enough. While he may have implied it was all his real muscles in the film in the past, he can now say that he got some help from padding to fill out that action figure-esque look we see in the film.
This makes total sense. While Zachary Levi clearly bulked up and got in great shape to play Shazam, likely far better shape than the majority of his critics, his character was simply too big and too muscle-bound for it to all be real. First off, it would take a long time for Zachary Levi to get that big, assuming his genetics would even allow for it.
Second, the Shazam we see in the movie is not only huge, but his muscles are clearly defined while in his suit. He looks like an action figure and while Zachary Levi may have had good muscle definition with his shirt off, putting on a costume, even a tight one, is going soften that definition to a degree. So if the character’s muscles were going to pop in the suit as they do on the pages of DC comics, the padding was necessary.
Frankly, it seems like a silly thing for anyone to have ever gotten worked up over. Like honestly, who cares if Zachary Levi is wearing a padded muscle suit? His muscles aren’t entirely real, but neither is his ability to fly. I’d rather have the character look as superheroic as he’s supposed to look onscreen than be 100% natural and look underwhelming.
We’re still waiting to hear some news about Shazam! 2, but things are moving along in Billy Batson’s side of the DC universe with Black Adam, starring Dwayne Johnson going into production next year. To see what movies are headed to theaters next year, including some exciting DC films, check out our 2020 Release Schedule.