Who is Shazam!, the latest super hero?!

Publish Date
Thursday, 11 April 2019, 6:34PM

DC have released their latest superhero film, Shazam. 

The main character, Shazam, is a buff, lightning-bolt-emblazoned man-boy and is played by Zachary Levi, who played Chuck, in Chuck, the TV show. The unusual part of the film is that Shazam becomes the superhero after transforming from Billy Batson, a teenage boy - who is played by Disney star Asher Angel. 

For those not sure about the movie, here's a Q+A with lead actors Zachary Levi and Asher Angel:

Q: You’re a self-professed nerd, so what’s this journey, playing Shazam, been like for you?

ZACHARY LEVI: The wish fulfilment that the movie is about is the same wish fulfilment that’s been in my own life.  It’s so incredible. It’s so incredible to have loved superheroes and comics and video games and all that stuff for so long, always dreaming like, “Oh, you know, maybe I’ll get a shot at playing a bona fide superhero one day.” And then being 37 and being like, “I don’t know.  Maybe I missed my shot.” And now getting to do that. There were a couple of roles over the years that I wished I auditioned for, or that I came close to and I didn’t get. Then having gotten this role and having played this 14-year-old inside? I wouldn’t change it for anything. I feel like it was destined to be, because I’m just kind of a big man-child in a lot of ways. So, it worked out perfectly for me, and yeah, it's been very dreamy. 

QUESTION: One of the things that’s unusual about this film is that there are two actors playing one character. How did you work that out with Asher Angel, who plays Billy, and your director David F. Sandberg?

ZACHARY LEVI: It was mostly with David because Asher was still shooting his television show when we were starting production on the movie. So, Ash and I got a couple of days of some meetings, having a meal, getting to know each other, and some rehearsals with David. And then he had to go and was shooting the show and I was making the movie, and then we were never really on set together. So then you’re trusting your director to be the connective tissue, to make sure it’s all there. But that’s what you’re doing with the director any time, because they’re the ones seeing all the pieces. We’re just there to provide what our services are at any given point. And Asher is such a great kid. So was Jack. I was so grateful to go and work with genuinely good, talented kids who’ve got good families, too. That was really a treat. 

QUESTION: Who is Billy Batson? What’s he like when we first meet him and what’s going on in his life?

ASHER ANGEL: There’s a lot going on in this kid’s life! Billy got separated from his mum, so he’s basically just out there on the street. He’s a loner. He has no family.  It’s just him alone in this world. And he finds out that he’s capable of this amazing superpower, that by just saying one word—“Shazam!”—it turns him into an adult Super Hero. And I feel like for anyone, that would definitely change you, have an impact on your mental disposition, and then it’s decision time.  What are you going to do with these superpowers? Are you going to be good, are you going to be bad?  What’s going on?

Once he gets over the panic of having superpowers and being an adult, which is kind of crazy, he figures things out with Freddy. Freddy is like his manager and they get to know how to control these powers together. And it’s also relatable because Billy finally finds a family, and he would have never thought it would have been the kids he met in the foster care.

QUESTION: How did you and Zachary Levi work out how to play the same character, as actors, to indicate that you’re the same guy?

ASHER ANGEL: We didn’t have a lot of time, because I was shooting another show. I think we had like two days to figure it out. And I did a couple self-tapes for him, he did a couple self-tapes for me. You know, we really already had the same mannerisms and the same facial expressions, but we definitely did pick up on like a couple of tics that we both have so we could incorporate that. But we really just had to trust in each other and in David. 

QUESTION:  There are a lot of kids in this movie—what did you all do in your off time?

ASHER ANGEL: There was a lot of fun stuff to do. I mean, it was cold in Toronto, I’ll tell you that. It was freezing. But we took field trips, we did dinners. We did some sleepovers, and that’s how we really bonded. Playing games and watching movies together.

I feel like Jack and I really bonded at Comic-Con, like we really knew each other before that, but this is where we really became friends because we were with each other all day doing interviews, cracking jokes and we had a sleepover that night.

Shazam! is in cinemas now, so go and check it out!