Arts, Culture & Entertainment

Zachary Levi on new film, ‘Shazam: Fury of the Gods’

Levi discussed how he prepared for this film and his future in the DC Universe, along with other topics about the newest “Shazam!” film.

A photo still from the film of the characters in costume. Levi as Shazam is in the foreground pointing at something offscreen and the rest of the characters are in the background.

Six college journalists had the opportunity to sit down at a virtual roundtable with “Shazam: Fury of the Gods” star Zachary Levi Friday morning. Levi cracked jokes whilst also sharing intimate feelings and moments from the production of his upcoming film.

“Fury of the Gods” is the sequel to “Shazam!,” the 2019 superhero movie that had many interested in when the second film would be released. The film ended on the protagonist, Billy Batson’s foster siblings gaining the same powers he had been granted to turn into an adult superhero when yelling out the word “Shazam.”

The sequel picks up a few years after the last left off, with this new gang of superheroes doing their best to fight crime in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, in this film they encounter new foes in the form of Greek goddesses ready to reclaim their world and powers which they feel has been taken from them.

In exploring the plot line for the sequel film, Levi, who plays the lead role of Shazam, says that he had something to do with the involvement of Greek Mythology in the film.

“I’m gonna give myself a little pat on the back,” Levi said. ”I went to some of the bosses after the first movie because I was already thinking. They were discussing what the sequel could be, or whatever … So I thought that would be a great place to go. They had an entirely different idea, from what the boss told me then, they had a different way they were thinking about going. Next thing I know they were pitching me an idea and it was all about this Greek mythology, and these daughters of Atlas.”

Levi said that filming this sequel didn’t come without challenges, though.

“Honestly, the most challenging thing about filming this movie is as a superhero, or at least the type of superhero that I am, I get to fly, which is awesome,” Levi said. “Except in order to make that actually happen on screen, that requires us doing a lot of wire work, and in order to do the wire work, you have to wear these harnesses that may as well be diapers of death. Just torture devices that you have to crank down on your whole nether regions, and they chafe and cut and bruise, and they are just not enjoyable ... It’s the small prices to play to get to be a superhero.”

The “Shazam!” franchise has thus far been a standalone film within the DC Universe, and has not yet seen any crossover or connection with the other DC characters. Levi was questioned on whether there would be future crossovers for Billy Batson and what that would look like.

“What’s really fun about this franchise, not too dissimilar to ‘Deadpool,’ though we are dissimilar, there is some DNA that we share, but also a lot that we don’t,” Levi said. “We both get to be the ‘outside looking in and commenting on’ for our respective universe. And so we are not entirely disconnected from the universe because we get to talk about all of these characters.”

Levi also says that he would “like to work with all of them, any of them. I just want to keep playing this role as long as they’ll let me play it. As we say, that’s all kind of above my paygrade, but I would say Green Lantern would be pretty cool.”

Throughout his career, Levi has played roles in television, film, theater and voice acting, which each required unique preparation. Levi was asked about the similarities and differences between these roles, especially within his preparation to play a role like Shazam.

“Well, I would say probably the biggest difference is this is the only time in my career I’ve gotten paid to be a child,” Levi said. “I can definitely connect with fearing like I might lose connection with a group of people, like a chosen family. I think we can all deal with that feeling that we might be left out or not a part of whatever that is, and I try to tap into that.”

Levi’s previous leading role in “Chuck,” the action-comedy television series that ran from 2007 to 2012, shares many similarities and differences to the current role he holds as Shazam.

“They’re both unwitting heroes, so there is some shared DNA in that,” Levi said. “They both have really great hearts, I think. Both of them really want to do the right thing, they really want to protect their families, they really want to be good leaders.”

“Shazam: Fury of the Gods” is another cherry on the sundae of Levi’s career. This fun action-comedy is perfect for all ages to enjoy. The movie will hit theaters Friday, March 17.