Mark Strong is in talks to play the villain in DC's Shazam!: Report

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Nov 2, 2017, 3:50 PM EDT

Mark Strong, a genre actor known for roles in Sherlock HolmesKingsman: The Golden Circle (in which he was a particular standout), and Green Lantern, is poised to join DC Films and New Line's Shazam! as the main villain, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The initial report says that Strong is in "early talks" to board the project — which stars Zachary Levi as the title hero — so it's not clear how close the parties are to an agreement. If he takes the role, Strong will play Doctor Sivana, one of Shazam!'s oldest and most frequent enemies. 

First introduced in 1940 by Captain Marvel (as Shazam! was then known) creators Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, Sivana is a mad scientist who was driven to exact revenge on a scientific community that initially shunned him, believing his inventions to be too outlandish. In the original Fawcett Comics stories, he fled to Venus with his family and plotted his return to Earth, where he re-emerged as Captain Marvel's arch-nemesis. In the DC Comics era for the characters, he has appeared in events like Final CrisisThe Multiversity, and even in the New 52 reboot launched in 2011. He is, essentially, the Lex Luthor to Shazam!'s Superman.

Shazam!, directed by David Sandberg (Lights Out), is expected to begin production in February, while another film focused on Shazam!'s other archenemy Black Adam (starring Dwayne Johnson) is also being developed.