In Shazam!, Asher Angel stars as William “Billy” Batson, a 14-year-old living with a foster family in Philadelphia. After receiving ancient powers, he transforms into an adult superhero, portrayed by Zachary Levi. In a minor role, Borth stars as the superhero alter ego of Billy’s foster sister Mary Broomfield (Grace Fulton). In other roles, Meagan Good, Ross Butler, and D.J. Cotrona also portray adult alter ego characters. Produced for approximately $80 to $100 million, Shazam! earned over $260 million at the box office, and currently has a 90 percent Rotten Tomatoes score. Compared to other DCEU movies, Shazam! has fared quite well, and many have argued that it’s the franchise’s best film. In April 2018, we first learned of Borth’s secret casting.
In a recent Parade interview, Borth discussed the events leading up to her Shazam! casting and a five-movie deal with Warner Bros. While many performers try out for superhero movies without understanding the full details, Borth admits that even her agents didn’t know the specifics of her secret Shazam! audition, aside from the fact that she’d have to dance to three pages of dialogue. Borth reportedly memorized a John Travolta dance sequence from Saturday Night Fever, and ultimately took an interpretive approach with “fluttering butterfly arms and very poetic movements.” Borth didn’t receive a response for three months after her “weird audition,” only to learn from Warner Bros. that the process was complete, and that she’d been cast as Mary Marvel in Shazam! She said, “I had never gotten a role from one taped audition, let alone a five-picture deal with Warner Bros. from a one-tape audition.”
Born and raised in New York City, Borth has appeared in numerous films and television series. In the 2003 crime drama Wonderland, she had a small role opposite Val Kilmer and Kate Bosworth. For the 2017 drama Lucky You, Borth collaborated with the late director Curtis Hanson. Prior to Shazam!, however, Borth was mostly known as a TV actress, as she had a main role in the short-lived HBO series Tell Me You Love Me, and also a main role on ABC’s Combat Hospital. Over the past decade, Borth has appeared in 59 episodes of CBS’s Hawaii-Five-0 as Lieutenant Catherine Rollins. Looking back, her Shazam! audition now makes sense:
“They wanted someone who acted like a teenager, who could have fun. If we do do the sequel, you’re going to see more of the teenage part of her that we don’t really see in the first one.”
Despite a low opening weekend, Shazam! still managed to become a huge hit for the DCEU. Last month, we reported that Shazam!’s director and producer both plan to return for a sequel. As for Borth, her five-movie deal includes an option for Warner Bros, and full details about the Shazam! sequel are still developing. Based on fan reactions, though - along with critical reactions - it seems reasonable to expect Borth to reprise her Shazam! role many times over.
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