If you didn’t know, DC Films and Shazam! Director David Sandberg cast Chuck star Zachary Levi to play the original Captain Marvel or as more recent audiences might know him, Shazam! And despite the naysayers, it’s a fantastic casting choice. And here are five huge reasons why Zachary Levi is the perfect choice for Captain Marvel.
Chuck is Zachary Levi’s most notable project. For 91 episodes he portrayed a simple tech-nerd who was imbued with the secrets and techniques of the world’s greatest spies. Knowing this, government organizations use him as a tool that gradually develops over the entire series. He learns.
Shazam, formerly known as Captain Marvel, is a boy imbued with the powers of 6 gods. A great and powerful wizard sees promise in the boy, granting him the ability to do good in a world without enough of it. Sound familiar? The TV series and the comic share a great deal in common, more than just Levi himself. They’re about a fairly naive, if not gifted person suddenly granted great powers that they have no idea what to do with. Seems like DC found the right man for the job.
4. Time on Broadway
There’s a not-so-subtle difference between theatre acting and theater acting. When it’s for a film, the actor is performing for a lens. They’re more than aware of where they’ll be viewed from, and their blocking (where the director places them, or has them move) will all be determined by the location of the camera. When acting for an audience a performance requires more of a “presence”. Hundreds of people at every corner of the room should be feeling the character’s emotions. Thus, it requires a wider and more enthusiastic performance that isn’t necessarily just speaking louder.
Levi will literally be playing a character who has never been in their body. Before being the gigantic strongman he will eventually be, Billy Batson was simply a 14 or 15-year-old teen. Before all of the incredible action and fighting can get underway there needs to be a certain amount of physical comedy showing just how hilarious this can be. Thanks to plenty of time on the stage, including a Tony nomination, Levi knows how to do just that.
3. He Won’t Steal the Focus
It’s well known that Zachary Levi currently depicts the character “Fandral” in the Thor films for the MCU. Simply put, it’s a great performance. But did you happen to notice that Fandral was played by a different actor in the first film? Despite being cast in the part, Levi couldn’t be in the film due to conflicts with Chuck. Instead, actor Josh Dallas played him. But when Dallas couldn’t come back for the sequel, the role went back to its original actor.
While Levi has been working steadily for years, he isn’t a big name. At the crux of the Shazam story is a teenager suddenly granted amazing gifts so he can better his world. If the story is to remain the same, that kid needs some screen-time as well. Since Zachary Levi isn’t an A-list star who would demand most of the metaphorical stage, audiences will get to see the entire Shazam story as it was meant to be told.
2. Voice-Acting Experience
Zachary Levi’s 2nd most famous part is most likely as Flynn Rider in Disney’s Tangled. It was a great film that put Disney’s own animation department on the same level as its subsidiary company, Pixar. While the film never received a sequel, likely due to the rumors of it being one of the most expensive films ever made, it was a huge success. Levi did a fantastic job as the male-lead and continued to do so on its Disney Channel follow-ups.
It’s unclear if another actor will play the ancient Wizard, but someone will be whispering in Billy Batson’s ears in the same way someone will whisper in Shazam’s. A disembodied voice will guide our hero with the advice he needs to hear. Levi does an incredible job at giving a voice to a computerized character. Whether or not the Wizard or Shazam himself is the voice in Billy’s head, Zachary Levi would be up to the task.
1. Childlike Sensibilities
Billy Batson is just a kid. He might be troubled; he might not be perfect. But an ancient wizard sees in him the ability to change the world. Because of that, he’s granted the powers of the gods and told to use them for good. It’s the story of a child’s first introduction to magic, to the dream of becoming a superhero. Half of the film should be about exploring how amazing that can be and how amazing it can feel. Zachary Levi has plenty of experience in numerous acting styles. However, it’s his ability to express true naivete that makes him an inspired choice for the job.
Shazam will need to look up and discover he can fly. He’ll need to lift a car, or a building and discover he has super strength. It will require a performance that’s a mix of both surprise and awe. Levi has had several roles throughout the years that have to express a great amount of emotion, because he’s either performing to kids or like one. The nuance required to play a child turned into a Superman is something Zachary Levi has been showing audiences for years. In 2019 and beyond, he’ll do it again as SHAZAM!