Shazam! is an upcoming American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. It is intended to be the seventh installment in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The film is directed by David F. Sandberg, from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke. The film stars Zachary Levi and Asher Angel as Billy Batson / Shazam, a teenage boy (Angel) who can transform via the magic word "Shazam" into an adult superhero (Levi), with Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, and Ron Cephas Jones as supporting characters. It will be the first film version of the character since the 1941 serial Adventures of Captain Marvel (the character's original name) and will be the first full-length feature film centered around the character.
|Directed by||David F. Sandberg|
|Produced by||Peter Safran|
by C. C. Beck
|Edited by||Michel Aller|
|Distributed by||Warner Bros. Pictures|
Principal photography began in Toronto, Canada on January 29, 2018, with most of the film shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios, and wrapped on May 11, 2018. The film is scheduled to be released by New Line Cinema and Warner Bros. Pictures in RealD 3D and IMAX 3D on April 5, 2019.
A 14-year-old boy named Billy Batson is granted the powers of six ancient heroes by a dying wizard, which he activates by saying the wizard's name, "Shazam!" Upon doing so, he is transformed by a magic lightning bolt into an adult superhero. Each of the ancient heroes' initials are represented by the letters in the word: the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury.
While Billy at first revels in the joy of being a hero – albeit one who still has a teenager's mind – he is forced into serious action in order to battle the evil Doctor Sivana. On Billy's side is his foster brother and best friend Freddy Freeman, a superhero enthusiast who helps both train Billy and keep Billy's secret.
- A boy who was given his powers by an ancient wizard and transforms into an adult with the powers of superhuman strength, speed, flight, and other abilities by speaking the word "Shazam".
- One of the smartest men alive, but one given to squandering his gifts on ridiculous inventions that no one could understand. He is bitter, twisted and cares only how his actions can benefit himself; and with his newfound telekinetic ability, he can.
- An ancient wizard who bestows his powers on Billy Batson so that he can magically transform into an adult superhero, who takes on the wizard's name in his adult form.
- Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield: One of Billy's friends at his foster home.
- Jack Dylan Grazer as Frederick "Freddy" Freeman: Billy's best friend, who is disabled, and the only person who knows that he is also Shazam.
- Ian Chen as Eugene Choi: One of Billy's friends at his foster home.
- Jovan Armand as Pedro Peña: One of Billy's friends who lives at his foster home.
- Faithe Herman as Darla Dudley: One of Billy's friends at his foster home.
- Cooper Andrews as Victor Vázquez, the foster father of the group home where Billy and his friends live.
- Marta Milans as Rosa Vázquez, the foster mother of the group home where Billy and his friends live.
New Line Cinema began development of a Shazam! live-action feature film in the early 2000s, with multiple screenplay drafts by William Goldman, the team of Alec Sokolow and Joel Cohen, Bryan Goluboff, and John August. The version of the Shazam! script written by August, which went into pre-production in 2008, was an action comedy which focused on the origin story of the hero, then known by his original name of Captain Marvel, and his young alter ego, Billy Batson. Peter Segal was attached as director and former wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson was in talks to appear as the film's villain, Black Adam. The Shazam! film was originally being produced by New Line Cinema, which was absorbed into Warner Bros. during the course of development.
Following the success of Warner's noir-inspired Batman film The Dark Knight and the commercial failure of its lighter, family-friendly Speed Racer during the summer of 2008, August departed from the project citing pressure from the studio to make the screenplay darker and more serious. By the summer of 2009, Bill Birch and Geoff Johns, a prominent DC Comics writer, were assigned to write the screenplay, while Segal remained attached as director. In August 2010, the studio considered canceling the theatrical movie in favor of a live-action series for prime time network television. In December 2013, Segal stated that the film would not be happening, as the similarities between Captain Marvel and Superman had become an obstacle after successful launch of Man of Steel.
While development on the Shazam! film was in limbo, DC Comics rebooted the franchise as part of their New 52 relaunch in 2012. At this time, due to ongoing trademark conflicts with Marvel Comics, who owned the trademark for "Captain Marvel" for use with their own character of the same name, DC renamed their Captain Marvel superhero character "Shazam". It had always been required to market and promote the character using the trademark Shazam! since acquiring the publishing rights from Fawcett Comics in 1972. Captain Marvel had originated at Fawcett in 1939, but fell into limbo after 1953 following a long legal battle with DC over Captain Marvel's similarities to Superman.
However in April 2014, Warner Bros. revealed the upcoming slate of films based on DC Comics properties. A Justice League film was set to be released in 2017, alongside upcoming adaptations of Shazam!, Fables, and 100 Bullets. The Shazam! film was tentatively set for release in July 2016. Dwayne Johnson confirmed he would be starring in Shazam! that August, but was undecided between portraying Shazam or Black Adam. In September, Johnson was confirmed to play Black Adam, while Darren Lemke was set to write the script In January 2017, Henry Gayden was hired to rewrite Lemke's script. In February 2017, David F. Sandberg was in talks with the studio to direct Shazam!, Dwayne Johnson was set to first star in a Black Adam solo film, as opposed to appearing as the villain in Shazam!, while Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, another archnemesis of Shazam, became the film's main villain.
By July 2017, the studio had begun active development on Shazam! and David F. Sandberg was confirmed as director, with production to begin in early 2018. Dwayne Johnson relayed that a different creative team was now involved than when he first signed on to the film, and stated his excitement over the studio's decision to split the film into two separate movies. After being cast as the lead, Zachary Levi stated in an interview, "the idea is that it's gonna feel like the movie Big, but with super powers" when he was asked about what direction DC Films and New Line Cinema are going for with Shazam! The film was later stated by Warner Bros. to be based upon based on the 2012-2013 Shazam! backup feature from the Justice League comic book by writer Geoff Johns and artist Gary Frank, which told a modernized version of Shazam's origin.
In August 2017, director David F. Sandberg stated that the film would be the next to shoot in the DC universe, and by the end of the month, it had begun pre-production. By October 2017, cinematographer Maxime Alexandre and production designer Jennifer Spence, who previously worked with Sandberg on Annabelle: Creation, were added to the production. The next month, Aquaman stunt coordinator Kyle Gardiner was hired to work on the film's action sequences. On January 12, 2018, the film release date was officially announced.
By September 2014, Dwayne Johnson was set to portray Black Adam in the film, but by July 2017 he had left the project to pursue a Black Adam solo film. In August 2017, the casting process for Shazam and other characters for film had begun. Sandberg had stated in an interview that instead of de-aging an actor using special effects or CGI, he would cast both a child actor and an adult actor for the role of the main character. Zachary Levi, John Cena, Zane Holtz, Jake McDorman, Derek Theler and Billy Magnussen had all met with Sandberg for the role of Shazam. By October 2017, Levi was cast in the titular role. In November, Grace Fulton joined the cast as Mary Bromfield, one of Billy Batson's foster siblings. Fulton is reteaming with the director after Annabelle: Creation. Later that month, Mark Strong was in final negotiations to play Dr. Sivana. The British actor confirmed he will be playing the role by January 2018. By November 2017, Asher Angel was cast as the titular hero's child-age alter ego Billy Batson. In December, Jack Dylan Grazer was cast as Freddy Freeman, Batson's best friend. Later that month, Jovan Armand, Ian Chen, Faithe Herman, and Cooper Andrews were cast as Pedro Peña, Eugene Choi, and Darla Dudley, while Andrews will portray Victor Vazquez, Batson's foster parent. By January 2018, Ron Cephas Jones entered talks to play the role of the wizard Shazam, who grants Batson his powers, being confirmed by early February 2018. Later that month, Spanish actress Marta Milans joined the cast to play one of the foster parents at the home where Billy lives. By the end of January 2018, actress Lotta Losten revealed that she has a role in the film. On April 23, 2018, Ross Butler was announced to have joined the cast.
Shazam! principal photography began in Toronto, Canada on January 29, 2018, under the working title Franklin, and was scheduled to wrap by mid-May 2018. The film is set primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and firmly established within the DCEU. A majority of the production was shot at Pinewood Toronto Studios and also held on several public locations around the city, including the University of Toronto and Woodbine Shopping Centre. In early March 2018, filming took place at Fort York National Historic Site in downtown Toronto. By early May 2018, Asher Angel, among other young cast members, finished filming his part. Principal photography wrapped on May 11, 2018.
David F. Sandberg's two-time collaborator Michel Aller will serve as the editor for Shazam!. Technicolor's VFX studio Mr. X, known for The Shape of Water and Tron: Legacy, will be providing visual effects. Moving Picture Company (MPC) will also be working on the VFX for the film.
In April 2018, a first look at Shazam! made its debut at CinemaCon convention in Las Vegas, Nevada with director David F. Sandberg introducing the behind-the-scene footage. During an interview with Film Riot Podcast in June 2018, Sandberg stated that "On this one, it was just like 'Yeah, I want this to be a classic superhero movie.' It takes place in the winter, so it's a lot of dark exteriors, but with a lot of colorful lights and stuff around them.", referring to the film setting during the winter season.
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