"Billy Batson is Every Kid" Zachary Levi Says About 'Shazam!'

Zachary Levi has some lofty ideas and goals for what his Warner Bros. DC Comics film Shazam! can mean to audiences, and we've got to admit, we're optimistic as hell about it.

SHAZAM! - Official Teaser Trailer [HD]

The trailer alone, tonally, is so different than the majority of DC/WB flicks, and perhaps a welcome change is what the universe needs to find new ground.

Levi recently spoke with CBR.com about his role of the powers-imbued Billy Batson alter ego Shazam, covering several different sides of the character.

"Shazam is the kind of classic – it's almost Grecian almost in that you're a normal person who says a word it's a magic word and all of a sudden now you are imbued with magical superpowers. [You get] fast and strong and all of these things. I think there's something so incredibly classic that's wrapped up in that, but also the very pure, unjaded wish-fulfillment of a pure-hearted kid who really is just trying to make his way in the world, find love, find his family and this all-powerful wizard sees in this kid something no one else sees and therefore because of that rewards him and then he gets to be Earth's Mightiest Mortal. It's just so awesome, it's so cool to get to be able to take that on. And again, being a bit of a man-child, I don't want to say it's second nature because I'm still an adult, obviously, but I think it's something that I feel like I've always been, I've always tapped into that and really am grateful that however I was created in this world is something that's lending itself to bringing this character to life.

This premise is kind of almost the most iconic of all wish fulfillment premises. And yet, for whatever reason, only now is this movie being made. But haven't we all sat around as children wishing we had the ability to just magically transform into our super self? …Some days I wake up and I'm still hoping that my genetics are mutating and I'll be able to – I was a big X-Men fan. X-Factor, X-Force, X-Everything! And that's one of the things we love about that franchise, is that is that it just kinda happens. You were normal, and then you mutated.?

Honestly, I think the purity of it. While we all like seeing movies that challenge us with their kind of the darker underbelly of life and we need to shine lights on those things and tell those stories, there's a lot of heaviness in the world and I think that it's really beautiful when you can go and cheer for that's just got a good heart that really does mean well and they're trying to find their way in the world.

We need heroes. That's why I think we flock to superhero movies. We wanna see ourselves in them, we do see ourselves in them, but we also feel kind of inspired and more hopeful that there is good in the world that is vanquishing the evil in the world that is standing up for the everyman and going and trying to make a difference. But again also, it's the wish fulfillment. Other characters, other superheroes you don't' necessarily, it's difficult to see yourselves in those shoes. But Billy Batson is every kid, he's every kid. Again, we're 14 or younger, or adults still we're still having that wouldn't it be so cool if and Billy Batson is the manifestation of that. Wouldn't it be so cool if you were transported to a magical dimension and a wizard says I pick you and boom, now you get to go fly?"

Shazam! will hit theaters on April 5th, 2019.

About Mary Anne Butler

Bleeding Cool News Editor Mary Anne Butler (Mab, for short) has been part of the fast-paced world of journalism since she was 15, getting her start in album reviews and live concert coverage for a nationally published (print) music magazine. She eventually transitioned to online media, writing for such sites as UGO/IGN, ComicsOnline, Geek Magazine, Ace of Geeks, Aggressive Comix (where she is still Editor-in-Chief), and most recently Bleeding Cool.

Over the past 10 years, she’s built a presence at conventions across the globe as a cosplayer (occasionally), photographer (constantly), panelist and moderator (mostly), and reporter (always). 

Interviews, reviews, observations, breaking news, and objective reporting are the name of the game for the founder of Harkonnen Knife Fight, a Dune-themed band with an international presence. 

Though she be but little, she is fierce. #MabTheProfessional

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