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'Shazam!' star Djimon Hounsou opens up to Kelly Clarkson about why it was so important he play a superhero
The actor's superhero roles helped prove to his son that anyone can be a hero.
Djimon Hounsou is part of a distinguished group of actors who've made appearances in not one, but two major superhero universes over the course of his career. This month he makes his return to the DCEU as the Wizard in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, but he's also spent a good chunk of time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the Kree warrior Korath the Pursuer, appearing in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel.
There's a financial benefit to landing those roles, of course, and playing in a superhero sandbox is a particular kind of fun, but according to Hounsou, it's also important to him as a father, and not just because his kids think superheroes are cool.
Appearing on The Kelly Clarkson Show this week to discuss his return in Fury of the Gods, Hounsou explained that his son grew up loving superheroes, particularly animated versions of characters like Spider-Man. That was fine, until one day his son said that he wished he were white, so he could climb walls like the cartoon webslinger he loved watching.
"For him, over time, the understanding is we don't have the ability to climb walls like Spider-Man," Hounsou recalled. "And so, I was eager to look for some content online that could redeem that."
In his search for more superhero content that could help his child understand that he was also represented in the comic book world, Hounsou remembered that he himself had already played a superhero, having done voiceover work as T'Challa for the 2010 Marvel Knights Black Panther animated series. So, he pulled up clips from that project and showed them to his son.
"He heard the voice and he's like 'Baba...is that you?' So that's one of the reasons I was really drawn to [superhero projects]," Hounsou said.
So, Hounsou ended up working in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Shazam!, lending his screen presence to two superhero universes and, in the case of Shazam!, joining a franchise in which characters from many different backgrounds are all able to wield superpowers thanks to the Wizard's shared power.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in theaters now. New episodes of The Kelly Clarkson Show are available to stream on Peacock.