Zachary Levi Compares Shazam to Christian Bale’s Batman
Zachary Levi – currently on a press junket promoting his new DC film Shazam! – portrays the 14-year-old Billy Batson in the box-office smash. Levi is widely known for starring in the TV series Chuck, Thor: Ragnarok, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and Tangled. While he has played supporting roles in more than one MCU film, Shazam! marks the actor’s first time playing the title role in a superhero-themed movie.
While DC has struggled, in the past, to gain the critical reception that Marvel movies often receive, Shazam! has proved to be an exception to the rule, as was Wonder Woman. The film currently boasts a 91% critic score and 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes. Zachary Levi’s charming, comedic, and heartfelt performance is said to exist at the core of this film’s success.
Levi sat down for an interviewer with JoBlo Celebrity Interviews to discuss Shazam!, the nature of playing a 14-year-old boy turned full-fledged superhero, and what makes this movie different from its contemporaries.
Zachary Levi on the “enthusiasm” his character gets to retain, as compared to Batman
In Shazam!, unlike in the majority of superhero-themed films, the actor playing Billy Batson gets to retain all the excitement that comes with playing a superhero and put it on the screen.
What is a 14-year-old kid going to do when he becomes a superhero? He’s going to freak out, and then he’s going to play. This is the very facet of Billy Batson’s persona that Levi connected most with, and he explained to the interviewer the liberties this characterization permitted. He told JoBlo Celebrity Interviewers:
“The fact that I just got to kind of be my authentic, energetic, stoked self, like the kid in me that gets to be a superhero. And I don’t have to hold any of that back. I don’t have to be Christian Bale who I’m, presumably, I’m sure was beyond stoked that he was Batman, but then he has to reign all that enthusiasm in to be [enacts brief Christian Bale’s impersonation] down here.”JoBlo Celebrity Interviews
Zachary Levi was permitted to be excited. He did not have to take on a dark past, or a traumatically triggered life mission; rather, he just got to be a kid again.
In essence, casting directors told Levi that he would get to play a superhero, and then they requested, for the entirety of filming, that he retain the level of enthusiasm he felt upon hearing the news. Sounds like the perfect role.
Zachary Levi talks young co-stars and previous knowledge surrounding ‘Shazam!’
Zachary Levi goes on to explain how being around Jack and Asher – two young co-stars also portraying the title character – helped him access a childhood mindset and energy level.
While not knowing much about Shazam! and Captain Marvel before filming the DC movie, Levi explains that he read a lot of comic books while growing up, and was familiar with the concept.
Levi discusses the “iconic archetype” at the basis of the film: the childhood dream to just say a magic word and transform into a savior. In the process of auditioning for the role, he explained that he dove headfirst into the comics and committed to a great degree of research, according to JoBlo Celebrity Interviews. And based on reviews, he prepared perfectly, as he captures the comic book character with a sense of familiarity and ease.
Shazam! hit the silver screen on April 5, and has since been the talk of the town, as it’s giving some competition to its Marvel counterparts. Zachary Levi is also set to star in the upcoming Star Wars: Detours tv series as Biff Tarkin, which is currently in post-production and scheduled for a late 2019 release.