Shazam! star Zachary Levi was an easy choice for the role but he originally didn't believe an audition would get him anywhere near it.
In footage shown on the Warner Bros. lot, Levi's childish perfection for the role of Shazam was on full display. However, producer Peter Safran points out that Levi did not think he would ever land such a role, which is why he steered clear of taping an audition for it in the first place.
"It was a very easy casting decision once we saw his tape but it is worth noting that initially 2 months before that we had gone to him and he had passed," Safran explained. "And he just did because he didn't believe that he would ever be cast for that role. So he just said, 'I don't want to run tape for it.'"
As the story goes, Levi eventually changed his mind and would go on to join the ranks of big screen super heroes. "He sent it in on a Friday," Safran said. "e self taped, he was back on the east coast, self taped on his phone. Sent it in and I think by Monday we had him in LA testing and on Tuesday got the role. Zach is this character. Zach is a 14-year-old boy trapped in a super hero's body. And he would acknowledge that, I'm not saying anything he would not say about himself. He's a kid and it was just so perfect when we saw what he did with the audition and he kinda bought that every single day to being Shazam."
From the moment he was cast, Levi never lost his spark for Shazam. "It was a very difficult shooting condition," Safran said. "We shot in Toronto, in the winter, night exteriors for weeks on end and he just brought to it an enthusiasm that never waned ever."
Director David F. Sandberg agrees: the choice was easy. "I mean, we had quite an extensive search for many many auditions and then you know looking at self tapes and all that," Sandberg said. "And Zach, he sent in a self tape. One of sort of many but when landed on his it was like this is the guy."
Having seen trailers and behind-the-scenes footage for Shazam!, can you imagine anyone else playing the part of Billy Batson in a super hero's body? Share your thoughts in the comment section!
Shazam! hits theaters on April 5.