Zachari Levi is jumping ships from Marvel to DC to star as the original Captain Marvel in the upcoming Shazam! movie. While we don’t know anything specific about the plot yet, the Chuck actor dropped an interesting tidbit by comparing the DC Extended Universe movie to a (ahem) Big Tom Hanks film.
Levi was on hand with KTLA 5 to discuss playing the role of a superhero in a major movie franchise: DC and New Line have announced earlier this year they were going ahead with a two-part Shazam! movie, with the first installment slated to start production in February 2018 with an eye to open in theaters in early 2019.
“I’m honored and greatly humbled to be a part of it, it’s insane,” Levi said. “These superhero roles they come around very seldom and to be somebody who’s blessed enough to get to pull that brass ring and to go have a franchise, a tentpole, it’s insane.”
Despite signing on the dotted line for multiple movies Levi doesn’t find having to commit to play the role of Shazam for several films daunting. “It’s just one of those things where you can’t look at that as being a bad thing. If you’re looking at that as a bad thing then you need to go do a lot more therapy I think. You gotta go figure out that there's something in you that you need to go work out. I'm gonna get paid to get into the best shape of my life, this is the greatest job I've ever had.”
Speaking about his workout for the role Levi, who played Fendral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok, also compared Shazam! to Big — a movie about a kid who becomes an adult overnight after a wish — but with superpowers.
“The movie I think, ultimately, the hope is that it’s gonna feel like the movie Big but with superpowers. That’s what Shazam! is. It’s Billy Batson who’s 13. He gets this magical power, he says Shazam!, he becomes Captain Marvel/Shazam, and then he becomes me. So you gotta have the heart of that kind of Tom Hanks of the kid in you.”
For the uninitiated, Captain Marvel/Shazam is the alter ego of Billy Batson (to be played by Disney Channel star Asher Angel), a young orphan boy who speaks the magic word “SHAZAM” to transform into the adult superhero, a Superman-like figure boasting superhuman strength, speed, durability, longevity, flight, spell-casting, magical lightning and more. Mark Strong (Kingsman: The Golden Circle) is in talks to play the villainous Doctor Sivana while Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation) may join the film in an unspecified role.
Directed by David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) from a script by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemk, Shazam! will fly into movie theaters on April 5.