Shazam! was announced about two years ago, but has been overlooked on the massive slate of DC films set to launch before and after its 2019 release. We know Dwyane “The Rock” Johnson will star as antagonist Black Adam, but a reveal on who’s playing the boy turned superhero Billy Batson has yet to be unveiled. Johnson’s producer Hiram Garcia (San Andreas, Ballers) spoke to Comicbook.com to offer an update on where the film currently stands, and promises there will be plenty of fun to be had once the movie finally hits theaters.
“We’re a good way into development,” Garcia revealed about the status of Shazam!. “We’re expecting a next draft soon which I think is really gonna put us in the zone that we’re hoping for.”
Bill Birch is writing the screenplay alongside Geoff Johns, and while those two are surely drafting something special, Garcia points to another seminal narrative in particular that he’s looking to for inspiration.
“There’s a great opportunity between [Black Adam and Shazam].” Garcia explains. “I was always a fan of Superman and his mythology as I grew up. I remember it was Alex Ross’s Kingdom Come that was the first time that ever made me look at Shazam just differently. I always knew of Shazam, you know the name, you knew the word, but I thought Alex Ross drew him in a badass epic way that helped support the epic conflict him and Superman had.”
Shazam is known as a fun-spirited, all around good guy with the weight of the world and ancient mythical powers on his mighty shoulders. Those aspects of his character will be necessary if he’s to be successfully translated to the big screen, but Garcia is already way ahead of any concerns, promising the film will be filled with fun energy.
“That whole world, as well as Black Adam as you start looking into Black Adam, so our take on that world is first and foremost, movies like that can be grounded and can have real stakes but that doesn’t mean they can’t be a blast,” he explained. “That’s the space we always want it to come from. We have a character in Shazam that is a boy who is in this man’s body who is having the ultimate fulfillment that I think all comic book fans and everyone can associate with. Like, what if you wake up one day and you can just do all this great stuff? Then on the other side, you have this force of nature who is really anchored by what he lost in his family and he’s bringing that with him throughout this journey. There’s a real grounding there. That combination of youth and enthusiasm and being in new to a world and then the place that Adam’s coming from. It makes for a great dynamic that not only allows us to not only have real stakes, real story, and real emotion, but a ton of fun in the process. There’s no reason that there should ever be a version of this story told that’s devoid of that. That’s our goal in doing this: following the path of the films that have been coming out and have done such a good job.”
He also spoke on the Marvel formula, which it seems Shazam! will at least be looking to for guidance on some fronts.
“Marvel has, everyone knows, really locked into that place where they’re able to tell you really grounded, rooted stories that have real repercussions and there’s a real wake that’s left after what’s the done but while through the whole process they still acknowledge that, and you have a blast while you’re watching,” he continued. “They find the moments where you’re constantly having fun and you’re able to go on the ride and that’s the place we’re gonna be playing in.”
Garcia recognizes the potential cause for concern in adapting the character to live-action, and is looking to allay those trepidations: “I promise you dude, we’re not gonna f— this up!” He then concludes with words that are sure to set the hearts and minds of fans at ease.
“My vision is so clear for this story and this movie. As story tellers, you sometimes get on projects but this has always been a priority. I’ve been carrying the Black Adam torch for so many years before we finally locked it in and I’m telling you we’re gonna knock this thing out of the park. It’s gonna be a blast and it’s gonna be a dope ride, so get ready!”
Earth’s Mightiest Mortal is in good hands, and his cinematic debut is slated to hit theaters on April 4, 2019.