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NYCC: Zachary Levi talks Shazam! and how the lighthearted superhero adventure fits his personality

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Oct 4, 2018, 5:11 PM EDT

Today at NYCC, Shazam! star Zachary Levi was on hand at SYFY WIRE’s Live Stage to discuss his unconventional superhero role, and how the character seemed tailor-made to his personality. 

"I'm playing myself," Levi joked with the crowd, talking about 14-year-old orphan Billy Batson, who's given the ability to transform into a fully grown superhero by an ancient wizard. "He's got a heart of gold, like myself." 

Levi, who was positively buoyant throughout the NYCC panel, said he's only seen the same footage that's in the trailers. "Typically, I hate watching myself on screen. I don't like the sound of my voice, and I don't like the look of my face. However, when I watched the trailer, it delighted me. I felt joy, I felt like the way I was a kid when I was watching Goonies."

It's Shazam!'s lighthearted approach that seems to separate it a bit from the generally grim offerings on DC characters we've seen on the silver screen so far.

"It's built into the story," said Levi. "You can't make a movie about a 14-year-old that has a magic power that turns him into a superhero and make that too dour. There’s levity built into it. We didn't really have to try, it just came across [that way]."

Levi also addressed the other DC films, saying that each individual interpretation had to be true to that respective characters.

"You have to do right by every character," explained Levi. "With Wonder Woman, we saw a lot of levity, we saw a lot of heart because Gal Gadot is effervescent. She can't not be that. I think Justice League had some fun and funny moments throughout."

With Shazam!, Levi explained that "it's not skewed younger, it's just infused with it. Ultimately that's why I was able to get the job. You can't take me seriously."

Be sure to check out SYFY WIRE’s full coverage of NYCC 2018, including up-to-the-minute news, exclusive interviews, and videos.