The New 52 version of Shazam, designed by Gary Frank

Shazam! filming gets underway

The New 52 version of Shazam, designed by Gary Frank
The New 52 version of Shazam, designed by Gary Frank

Production is underway on New Line Cinema’s Shazam! David F. Sandberg (Annabelle: Creation) directs the origin story, which stars Zachary Levi (TV’s Chuck) as the titular DC Super Hero, along with Asher Angel (TV’s Andi Mack) as Billy Batson, and Mark Strong (the Kingsman movies) in the role of Super-Villain Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Peter Safran (upcoming Aquaman, The Conjuring and Annabelle films) serves as the film’s producer.

We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s case, by shouting out one word — SHAZAM! — this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam, courtesy of an ancient wizard.

Still a kid at heart — inside a ripped, godlike body — Shazam revels in this adult version of himself by doing what any teen would do with superpowers: have fun with them! Can he fly? Does he have X-ray vision? Can he shoot lightning out of his hands? Can he skip his social studies test? Shazam sets out to test the limits of his abilities with the joyful recklessness of a child. But he’ll need to master these powers quickly in order to fight the deadly forces of evil controlled by Dr. Thaddeus Sivana.

Captain Marvel - now Shazam - makes his first appearance in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940
Captain Marvel – now Shazam – makes his first appearance in Whiz Comics #2 in 1940

Shazam, previously known prominently as Captain Marvel (a name change necessitated thanks to legal action by Marvel Comics), first appeared in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2, and was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck. Originally published by Fawcett Comics, the character was licensed by DC Comics starting in 1972, and fully acquired by DC in 1991.The character’s gone through many permutations, receiving a new costume designed by Gary Frank with a long cloak and hood when he re-emerged in the 2012 Justice League as a back up strip written by Geoff Johns.

Shazam! also stars Jack Dylan Grazer (IT) as Billy’s best friend and ultimate superhero enthusiast, Freddy, part of the foster family that includes Mary, played by Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation); Darla, played by Faithe Herman (TV’s This is Us); Eugene, played by Ian Chen (TV’s Fresh Off the Boat); and Pedro, played by Jovan Armand (TV’s Hawaii Five-O). Cooper Andrews (TV’s The Walking Dead”) and Marta Milans (TV’s Killer Women) play foster parents Victor and Rosa Vasquez, with Ron Cephas Jones (This is Us) as the Wizard.

Christopher Godsick, Jeffrey Chernov, Dwayne Johnson, Dany Garcia and Hiram Garcia are serving as executive producers.

Sandberg’s creative team includes his Annabelle: Creation director of photography Maxime Alexandre, production designer Jennifer Spence, editor Michel Aller and costume designer Leah Butler.

Set primarily in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, principal photography for the film is taking place in Toronto.

Firmly set in the DC universe but with his own distinctly fun, family-centric tone, the character first appeared in Whiz Comics in 1940 and was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck.

A New Line Cinema production, Shazam! is set for release on 5th April 2019. It will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", working as an editor, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years. His credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel UK and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines. He also edited STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics, including Team M.O.B.I.L.E. and The Beatles Story. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare” for Tian Books. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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