The hero of the movie may be Shazam! but it's the young boy Billy Batson who remains the protagonist of the story, and the heart of the DC superhero. It's still unclear just how the Shazam! screen time will be split between Billy (Asher Angel) and Shazam (Zachary Levi), but the young star himself lets us know how he's working with his co-star to bring Billy to life.
We got the chance to speak with Angel during our visit to the set of Shazam! just weeks into shooting, to find out how he was managing the mindblowing process of bringing a Superman-level superhero to life on film. Before audiences can even see the true birth of Shazam, they'll have to buy into Billy Batson's story. And while Asher Angel is far more excited about how Shazam! will connect to the rest of the DCEU, it sounds like Billy cares more about finding his family than fighting any comic book supervillain.
Even for somebody my age the character is already a bit outdated and old fashioned, so what was it like finding out that you were going to be in a Shazam movie?
Oh man! It was the best feeling you could ever imagine. I was heading to the airport when I found out. It was just after my tests and they called my mom. I was in the restroom and I just came out screaming and I was really, really loud. It's just a dream come true for me and I'm just super excited to be working on the movie.
We asked Zac this and I just wanna hear your take on it: You're both playing the same character, so can you talk about you and him finding the same take on the character?
Yes, you know it can be really hard when you're really adult and you have to play a kid. And I think for us we really just have to have this really good bond and just be like best friends! I've gotten to know Zac really, really well. He's just this really goofy, energetic guy and I just love him so much, and I think that really helps.
The New 52 has come up a lot. Have there been any other comics you'd looked at to inspire your take on Billy?
I would say that's really it. Immediately when I got the part I went to the comic store with my dad and did all this research on Billy and his character because this is huge. It's life changing to me and I just wanted to get it exactly perfect.
Even though Shazam is the title character have you thought about how you might get to be in other DC movies as Shazam? What's that like?
It's crazy! Ever since I was little I've been like, "I just want to be in a movie and go and see it with my friends." Just to be in this movie is absolutely amazing and I'm so excited, and if there are more movies to come then heck yeah!
Which DC star would you like to meet the most?
Gal Gadot is definitely one. Ben Affleck would be really, really cool. But I'm going to have to go with Henry though.
Is it hard to pretend that you're not a huge fan of superheroes as Billy?
Oh yeah, it's definitely hard. Once you guys see the movie you'll see there's a couple of moments where it was so hard for me to just keep my composure.
In the scenes we've seen and the source material for this story Billy has a little bit more of an edge, this sort of hard shell. But how do you balance that with whatever the qualities are that the Wizard sees in you to bestow these powers?
You know, he's had a hard life. He lost his mom when he was really, really young and he's basically just been searching for her his entire life. And once he meets this Wizard [laughs] he's like, "Who's this crazy guy? This guy's crazy." I think deeper into the conversation with the Wizard he finally realizes, "Whoa, I actually mean something." So I think that's really just the turning point.
The scene that you guys are just shooting, it's early on and he's leaving the house, so why does he want to do that?
He does not want to be with these people, he does not want to be here. He just wants his mom, that's it. Just wants his mom.
What's been the most exciting scene for you to shoot so far?
Oh by far the Rock of Eternity stuff. The set's amazing! I can't believe I'm done with the Rock of Eternity, I'm never going to see it again... well I can't say that yet [laughs] but definitely the Rock of Eternity.
What's it like to have to act as if you're meeting a wizard? How did you find your motivation for that scene?
I think for me, Billy just gets transported to this crazy, crazy place and he doesn't know where he is. Actually, I was telling my parents while I was doing the scene I was like, "Dad this is actually real cool for me because I feel like I'm here, it's like I'm actually at the Rock of Eternity." So when I meet this Wizard, it was actually really, really easy for me to just be scared and the emotions were just so easy to capture, so that was cool.
Obviously in most of the big action scenes it's Shazam, not Billy. Have you gone to watch any of that stuff or do you just take the day off?
I mean, I see some videos [laughs] I see some videos. I'll start coming more, though.
Stay tuned to Screen Rant for more coverage from our Shazam! set visit.
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019
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