Last we'd heard about the big-screen adaptation of Shazam!, the movie's (former) writer John August was blogging that it was dead done deal. Well, that might be true for August's involvement with the project, however the latest word places Shazam! very much in the "alive and happening" column: Warner Bros. has snagged new writers for the project and a script is reportedly in the works.
According to Variety, actor/writer Bill Burch has been tapped to hammer out the Shazam script with an assist from acclaimed comic book scribe Geoff Johns (Green Lantern) who will co-write the script and act as a consultant on the project. Johns also recently turned in a draft of The Flash for Warner Bros.
So, Shazam! is getting a much needed jump-start but the big question still remains: what kind of film should it be?
Shazam! has always been a tricky balancing act: You have Captain Marvel - who is basically Superman in red - as your hero, who happens to have an alter-ego that's a geeky kid (Billy Batson). There's also all kinds of stuff about Egyptian gods and magic on top of the already-fantastic superhero setup, resulting in a general premise that would make for a "quirky" film at best, or a mess of "too many worlds colliding" at worse.
Of course, during its go-stop-go marathon to the big screen, the question of how to approach a Shazam! movie has been addressed over and over. Should it go with a tongue-in-cheek story where Billy Batson is older in age, still trying to deal with sharing a body with a superhero? Or should they do a classically epic superhero fantasy about a young boy who learns that he has the power to make a difference?
Hard questions, right? I could see how either approach to the story could succeed - or fail - as a film. Until we know for sure what angle of attack Johns and Burch are bringing to Shazam!, feel free to remain skeptical and/or worried. For my part, I have more confidence in the project knowing that Geoff Johns is involved: that guy knows his DC super heroes.
Director Peter Segal (Get Smart) has been attached to Shazam! ever since the project was at New Line three years ago. No word yet on who Warner Bros. would want to star in the film (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's named has surfaced in the past) or when they would want the film in theaters.
We'll let you know more when we hear something.