Warning: SPOILERS for Shazam!
Shazam! director David F. Sandberg opens up about keeping the casting for the Shazam family 0n the down-low. Warner Bros.' latest superhero flick is already a hit for both critics and audiences, which is a great way to follow up to DC films' highest grosser, James Wan and Jason Momoa's Aquaman.
Introducing Zachary Levi as the titular character alongside Asher Angel as his human alter-ego, Billy Batson, the film ticks all the boxes in a great superhero movie with a bit more having a unique premise with a dual personality headliner. Warner Bros. delivered on its promise of a light-hearted family movie wrapped in the comic book movie sandbox that's taking over Hollywood. But aside from the Levi and Angel, the project also introduces a slew of new lovable superheroes in the DCEU with Billy's foster sibling also getting their own alter-egos with super abilities. Toward the end of the story, Freddie (Jack Dylan Grazer), Mary (Grace Fulton), Eugene (Ian Chen), Pedro (Jovan Armand) and Darla (Faithe Herman) are granted the same fate as Billy becoming their own superheroes.
Related: Every DCEU Connection In Shazam
Speaking with Screen Rant while doing the promo rounds for Shazam!, Sandberg talked about the great lengths they went to in order to keep the casting of Billy's foster siblings superhero alter-egos a secret. According to the filmmaker, they crafted specific lines for auditioning actor to read without revealing who they are potentially reading for. Instead, Sandberg and his team focused on the traits of the characters and highlighted that in their mock scripts.
We cast the kids first, and then sort of looked for a physical resemblance. And then, to keep thing under wraps, just because things leaked as much as they do, we actually wrote custom scenes for each character that weren't from the movie. So the people who came in to audition had no idea that they were basically reading for a superhero.
It was just sort of everyday scenes with characters that had the traits of them. So for Darla, Meagan Good, she read for a scene with a girl that's doing a driving test, and she's like a fast-talking character... I hope we can maybe put that on the Blu-ray or something, because they're fun scenes with these great actors.
In the film, once Shazam used the wizard's staff to share his powers to his foster siblings Freddie, Mary, Eugene, Pedro, and Darla transformed to adults superheroes played by Adam Brody, Michelle Borth, Ross Butler, D.J. Cotrona (who was once up to play Superman in George Miller's Justice League Mortal) and Meagan Good respectively. And together, they defeated Mark Strong's Doctor Sivana and the Seven Deadly Sins. But like Billy, they are forced to keep their secret identities so as not to attract any new threat to their family. Even their parents seem oblivious to their new life as superheroes.
Sandberg and his team did a great job casting the young and old Shazam family. Most of them not only physically resemble each other, but they also have the same mannerisms. Admittedly, it's difficult to pull this off considering that fans will see them playing off of each other in films to come, but all the actors sold the idea that they're playing essentially the same characters in Shazam!. With six new lovable superheroes joining the DCEU, it will be really interesting to see all of them interact with other characters in the franchise like Wonder Woman and Aquaman.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
- Joker (2019) release date: Oct 04, 2019
- Birds of Prey (And the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn) (2020) release date: Feb 07, 2020
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- The Batman (2021) release date: Jun 25, 2021
- DC Super Pets (2022) release date: May 20, 2022
- The Suicide Squad (2021) release date: Aug 06, 2021
- Aquaman 2 (2022) release date: Dec 16, 2022