Shazam! just started production the end of last month, and it’s likely to have a very critical eye on it. The DC Extended Universe is struggling right now, and if Aquaman is a failure the end of this year, it could spell trouble. That being said, actor Mark Strong has signed up to be the villain in this film, and he recently gave an interview with Total Film. The concept of tone often comes up when talking about DC movies, and Strong assures us that Shazam! will have some levity.
“Zachary Levi, who plays the lead [Shazam, the superhero alter ego of Billy Batson], is a very funny guy, and I’ve no doubt he will play with that part and make it interesting,” he says. “I think DC have realized that they’ve got their canon of films that are dark, and they’ve now found one that’s pretty funny! There are some really funny moments in it.”
This isn’t Strong’s first time in a DC comics movie, or even the first time playing a villain. In 2011 DC made a half-ass attempt to start a universe with Green Lantern. The final shot in the movie was of Sinestro, the greatest Green Lantern villain and played by strong, taking up a yellow lantern ring. It was probably the only good moment in the movie and promised big plans for sequels that would never come.
“Sinestro was meant to go evil in the second one,” explains Strong. “The final frame of the first film is him trying on the yellow ring and his whole costume going yellow, and that was when he went evil. So I was really looking forward to that. The film didn’t do as well as they expected… so it never got made. So I was definitely conscious that Sivana is almost like the next stage that I wasn’t able to take.”
Strong seems to imply that this won’t be another “the big villain is just in the shadows” type of situation. Sivana is going to be a straight-up bad guy, since he didn’t get the chance to do that with the Green Lantern series. Shazam! is more than a year away, so we have plenty of time still to get small bits of information.
Summary: A boy is given the ability to become an adult superhero in times of need with a single magic word.
Shazam!, directed by David F. Sandberg, stars Zachary Levi, Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Asher Angel, and will be written by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke. It will be released on April 5th, 2019.