Actor Zachary Levi was convinced auditioning for Shazam! was a waste of time because he looked nothing like Dwayne Johnson, who had already been cast as the superhero’s evil doppelganger.
The Tangled star joined the DC Comics universe in October, 2017, when he was announced as the adult lead of the movie, which centres on a troubled 14-year-old orphan named Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, who can transform into the grown-up superhero simply by uttering the word “Shazam!”
The news emerged three years after Johnson was confirmed as Black Adam, the evil reflection of Shazam!, also known as Captain Marvel, and Levi admits even he was surprised when moviemakers called on him to bring the adult version of the character to life on the big screen, because the two actors couldn’t be more different.
“I knew enough about the world and the lore of Captain Marvel/Shazam! to know that the character of Black Adam is the bad version of him (Shazam), like, the doppelganger, and I also knew that Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson was cast as Black Adam years prior…,” Levi explained on U.S. morning show Live with Kelly & Ryan.
“And so when I was trying to wrap my head around the idea of why I would be auditioning to play his twin, I was like, ‘This looks like I’m wasting everybody’s time!'”
However, director David F. Sandberg thought otherwise: “Fortunately for me, I was very, very wrong and my director and producers, and New Line and Warner Bros. (bosses) were more concerned about finding an actor that had the essence of a child!” he smiled. “So it all paid off!”
Black Adam had initially been rumoured to be the nemesis in the new Shazam! movie, but Johnson will instead make his debut as the supervillain in a standalone film at a later date.
Shazam! opens in U.S. theatres this week (05Apr19).
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