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SYFY WIRE Shazam: Fury of the Gods

Zachary Levi tells Jimmy Fallon he nearly lost out on 'Shazam!' role because of 'Black Adam'

If Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito can be twins, then so can Levi and Dwayne Johnson.

By Josh Weiss

Fun fact of the day: Dwayne Johnson's long-gestating Black Adam project nearly deprived the world of Zachary Levi as Shazam. Appearing on NBC's The Tonight Show to promote Fury of the Gods (in theaters this weekend), Levi explained how he initially passed on the blockbuster role because he didn't think he'd have a chance of playing a counterpart to The Rock.

"A couple months before I got the job, I was offered an audition for the role of Shazam," he recalled during the friendly chat with host Jimmy Fallon. "But I knew enough about the character of Shazam/Captain Marvel, that he had an evil twin named Black Adam and Black Adam was being played by The Rock. I was like, 'Wait, they're supposed to be twins? There's no way I'm getting this job!'"

RELATED: 'Shazam! Fury of the Gods': Billy Batson's got serious imposter syndrome in new SDCC trailer

At the same time, Levi was struggling mentally and decided to seek out psychological help. 

"I'm in this super intensive, life-saving therapy and I learn how to love myself for the first time in my life. I have this whole breakthrough ... So even though I told my agents, 'Hey, I'm gonna be off grid for a little while,' they're like, 'Yeah, yeah. Totally!' Two-and-a-half weeks in, they're like, 'So listen...ummm...there's an audition for a whole other role, it's a supporting role. If you want to do it, cool. If not, that's fine, too. We understand you're doing some healing.'"

Having reached a comfortable point of self-acceptance, however, the actor decided to try out for the part. 

"I did one take, I sent it in, and then in the course of one week, I ended up auditioning for this whole other role to them saying, 'Hey, we think you're our Shazam.' I had done all my therapy that I needed to do, I go to LA, I auditioned, and within one week, I was Shazam. It was super crazy, man. I just think it's indicative of when we do the real work and we do the work to heal ourselves and help other people heal themselves, that's where all the good stuff comes from." 

The interview led into a first look clip, where the titular hero attempts to intimidate Hespera (Dame Helen Mirren) with a Fast & Furious reference as the two enjoy a couple of Philadelphia cheesesteaks.

Check out the full conversation below:

David F. Sandberg (Lights Out) returned to direct Fury of the Gods, which finds Billy Batson (Asher Angel) on the verge of aging out of the foster care system.

"He's kind of freaking out about that because he doesn't want to lose this family he just found," Levi continued when asked for a synopsis about the plot. "And then he's feeling a little imposter syndrome like we all do because he's supposed to be the very competent leader of his super-family, but he's really blowing it a lot of the time. And then there's three goddesses played by Dame Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu [Kalypso], and Rachel Zegler [Anthea] — and they've come to kill me and my family. So there's a lot going on."

RELATED: Zachary Levi is not actually Shazam!, politely asks fans not to drop by his house

Jack Dylan Grazer, (Freddy Freeman), Adam Brody (Super Hero Freddy), Ross Butler (Super Hero Eugene), Meagan Good (Super Hero Darla), D.J. Cotrona (Super Hero Pedro), Grace Caroline Currey (Mary Bromfield/Super Hero Mary), Faithe Herman (Darla Dudley), Ian Chen (Eugene Choi), Jovan Armand (Pedro Pena), Marta Milans (Rosa Vasquez), Cooper Andrews (Victor Vasquez), and Djimon Hounsou (Wizard) round out the cast.

Peter Safran (who is now running DC Studios alongside James Gunn)  produced the sequel, which was penned by the duo of Henry Gayden (writer of the first movie) and Chris Morgan (The Fate of the Furious). Walter Hamada, Adam Schlagman, Richard Brener, Dave Neustadter, Victoria Palmeri, Marcus Viscidi, and Geoff Johns are executive producers.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is open now in theaters.

Relive a portion of the Fast Saga with The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift and Furious 7 — both of which are streaming on Peacock. If you want even more Vin Diesel action, then check out Pitch BlackThe Chronicles of Riddick, and Riddick.