Screen-tests for the role of Billy Batson have reportedly begun as Warner Bros. searches for half of the leading role in Shazam! With the DC Extended Universe now in full swing, Warner Bros. will have to start turning to characters other than the DC Trinity to make up years of films. One such character will be none other than Shazam (formerly known as Captain Marvel). These superhero abilities and the alter-ego belong to just a kid, Billy Batson.
Shazam! has long been in development at New Line, a label within Warner Bros., but has only begun to make real progress this year. David F. Sandberg has joined the project to direct and has recently shared the news that pre-production is officially underway. Part of pre-production will be casting the roles of the film, and the search for Billy Batson is reportedly underway.
Moviehole is reporting that Warner Bros. began testing for the role of Billy Batson last week and they’ve opened up a wide net to find the right choice. They speculate that casting for this role and others could be announced as soon as the end of September, giving WB just about a month to find half of their leading man. With the search for Batson now on, the studio should also soon look to find Shazam’s superhero form, that is if they have not already begun.
Sandberg recently made it clear that they were looking to cast two different actors to play Billy Batson and Shazam, forgoing a decision to de-age the adult actor they cast as Shazam. But, in order to make Shazam believable, they must also find a capable leading kid actor, one that can maintain his spirit while also exploring his sad and troubled childhood. As these screen-tests progress, it may not be long before a wish list of candidates or top contenders begins to leak. It will be these reports that give fans a better baseline as to what they can expect from Billy.
That said, he is only half of the equation and audiences will want to see Batson proclaim “Shazam!” many times over the course of the film so the superhero transformation can take place. Speculation has been around for months that Armie Hammer may have already snagged this role. If the role of Shazam has been cast already in secret, it will give WB some point of reference to look at when seeing which child actors may be the best fit. But if not, they could be looking to cast Billy first, then find someone who could pass as grown up version of him.
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