I’m not really sure how I feel about the upcoming “Shazam!” movie. I don’t really know all that much about it, and from everything I’ve heard, I’m not sure if it can be a good movie. Which might be entirely my fault, as my definition of a “good comic book movie” is one that takes the subject matter seriously — despite the origins of the movie being a comic book. I’m just not sure if a comic book movie about a boy who turns into the “world’s mightiest mortal” when he screams out “Shazam!” can be anything other than cheesy or campy. I feel the same way about “Shazam!” as I do about the upcoming “Green Hornet” movie, in fact.
But anyways, here’s what John August, writer/director of the upcoming “Shazam!” has to say about it (via):
August said that his work on “Chocolate Factory” likely led to this project: “Like Charlie, Billy Batson has an innate goodness, he’s is pure, and that is why Billy is chosen to be a hero and why Charlie succeeds.” I mentioned the movie “Big” and August nodded that, yes, that is a strong reference point for the boy-in-a-man theme of the film, although he added that he rarely cites it because it might give “the super-fans” something new to fret about. (We didn’t talk about casting because it’s way too early in the process, but Jake Gyllenhaal has been mentioned and IMDB lists the Rock as “in talks” for the role. IMDB also cites Brandon Molale as possible and he is an absolute dead ringer for Marvel; he may not have major name recognition but he did appear in “The Longest Yard,” so Segal knows him.)
I mentioned to August that two years ago I chatted with one of the “Shazam!” producers, Michael E. Uslan, and he told me even then that any Captain Marvel movie’s great challenge would be answering one question: If you were a little kid who could turn into an all-powerful, handsome adult, why on Earth would you ever change back? August’s answer: “That’s absolutely a key part of the movie. Billy doesn’t want to turn back, that’s central to the story. And a lot of the movie hinges upon that and Billy’s relationship with his best friend and that disparity. They are two teen friends and then suddenly one of them is 30 and a hero. So it creates tension. You know, as a screenwriter, that’s the thing, to take what seems to be a problem and make it a key element of the story. But Michael hit it on the head, that’s one of the emotional cores of this story. So to me it’s a great problem to have.”
The Rock would actually be good for the role, but who knows. I’ll “buy” this movie when I see more, or hear more about the plot. Right now, I’m just not sure…