Long before he was cast as Shazam in the DC Extended Universe, Zachary Levi was a Marvel Comics fanatic who loved Deadpool and really wanted to play him before Ryan Reynolds made the role his own.
During an appearance at Fan Expo in Boston, Massachusetts, Zachary Levi revealed that he wanted to play the Merc with a Mouth for years, citing his love for the character when he would regularly read comic books growing up. Zachary Levi would also praise Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of the character:
“I wanted to be Deadpool for so long. Like a long, long [time ago]. When I was reading Deadpool I wanted to be Deadpool, but Ryan is crushing that.”
Zachary Levi also went on to compare both Shazam! and Ryan Reynolds’ first Deadpool movie as similar films in how they tackle the superhero genre despite one film being more family friendly and the other being Rated R:
“I actually kind of think that Deadpool and Shazam! are similar movies in that we’re both satellites of a greater universe that we get to kind of look at and point at and realize as an audience we can all do that together. Deadpool got to take all those potshots at the Marvel universe [laughs], particularly the X-Men franchise, and it was so genius. And that we get to be on the outside, existing within the DC Universe but not necessarily having to subscribe to everything that’s already there.”
Both Zachary Levi and Ryan Reynolds are part of an elite club of comic book movie actors that have had roles in both Marvel and DC films. Before Shazam!, Zachary Levi played Fandral the Dashing in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. In the case for Ryan Reynolds, he played Deadpool in X-Men: Origins Wolverine and his two standalone films in 2016 and 2018. He also played Green Lantern in the 2011 film of the same name.
Interestingly enough, both Zachary Levi and Ryan Reynolds are also tied together by Taika Waititi, whom directed Zachary Levi in Thor: Ragnarok and starred alongside Ryan Reynolds in Green Lantern.
Either way, Zachary Levi seems pretty happy playing Shazam in the DCEU. After all, his performance as the adult superhero alter-ego of young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) received widespread acclaim much like Ryan Reynolds’ portrayal of Wade Wilson.
Be sure to continue following Heroic Hollywood for all the latest news regarding Zachary Levi’s Shazam! and Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.
We all have a superhero inside us, it just takes a bit of magic to bring it out. In Billy Batson’s (Angel) case, by shouting out one word—SHAZAM!—this streetwise 14-year-old foster kid can turn into the adult Super Hero Shazam (Zachary Levi), 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 (Strong).
Directed by David F. Sandberg, Shazam! stars Zachary Levi, Asher Angel, Mark Strong, Jack Dylan Grazer, Grace Fulton, Faithe Herman, Ian Chen, Jovan Armand, Cooper Andrews, Marta Milans and Djimon Hounsou.
Shazam! is now available on Digital HD, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.