The Shazam! film — starring the titular DC hero who lives a regular life as a boy but becomes a superhuman figure just by uttering a catchphrase — is set to go into production this year under director David Sandberg.
We've known for some time that the film will star Zachary Levi as Shazam! and Asher Angel as his child alter ego, Billy Batson. What we weren't sure about was who exactly would be the villain of the piece. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson is developing his own film starring Shazam!'s signature nemesis, Black Adam, but he's not set to appear in Shazam! So who would fill those shoes?
It was reported late last year that the villain for Shazam! would actually be evil scientist Doctor Sivana (a character dating back to 1940), and that Sivana would be played by Green Lantern and Kingsman star Mark Strong. Now, Strong has apparently confirmed those reports.
ContactMusic caught up with Strong at the premiere of the new Cirque de Soleil show OVO at London's Royal Albert Hall over the weekend, and he said he is indeed getting prepared for Doctor Sivana, in part due to the poor reception to Green Lantern.
"I'm playing an evil bastard called Doctor Sivana, they are always the best characters to play, the most fun," he said. "I was Sinestro in Green Lantern, which I thought was a rather good film but it didn't do what they wanted, so I feel like I've got unfinished business in the DC world. I played a pretty evil character in that and he was meant to get even worse in the second one but that never happened but I think I'm going to get the chance to do that in Shazam!, I hope so."
Strong also noted that he's about to begin stunt training for the role, which suggests that — although he's a scientist — Sivana's part in the film will be quite dynamic.
"I've been training like a mad man, I'm about to go over and see the stunt guys, I've been trying all of these harnesses on and I think I'm going to be doing lots of flying around and firing electricity out of my hands."
Though he's played heroes in his career (including Merlin in Kingsman), Strong has developed a reputation for his strong portrayal of villains through films like Sherlock Holmes and Green Lantern. He'll no doubt bring his particular brand of villainous energy to Sivana as well.
Shazam! is set for release in 2019.