Zachary Levi our newest cinematic superhero in the Dc Universe
I asked myself a question when I was considering my September DC Worlds Hall Of Fame nomination, was it too early to nominate Zachary Levi as Shazam? I got the answer very quickly “absolutely not.” As the teaser trailer had been released at this years San Diego Comic Con in the iconic Hall H I have to admit the Shazam trailer knocked me sideways as I had been avoiding spoilers and had not even seen the leaked photographs of the suit. The Shazam trailer was an instant favourite for me personally of the trailers shown at SDCC, because of the humour, you instantly understood how Shazam is different to Superman and the magical element of how 14 years old Billy Batson becomes a full grown superhero.
Zachary Levi was born Zachary Levi Pugh on September 30th 1980, Lake Charles, Louisiana. Zachary uses his middle name as his stage name, Pugh is of Welsh origin. Zachary grew up in different parts of America before his family put down roots in Ventura County, California. Zachary began acting, singing and dancing at the early age of six in school and local theatre. He performed in lead roles in regional productions such as Grease, Oklahoma, Oliver and The Wizard of Oz. Zachary first appeared in the FX television movie Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie. I personally recongise Zachary from the series Chuck (2007-2012) in which he also directed three episodes and the Disney-animated feature film Tangled, which is based on the popular fairy tale Rapunzel. You also get to hear what an amazing set of vocal chords he has.
I was fortunate along with Paul Edwards from DC World to meet Zachary Levi at July’s Show Masters London Film Comic Con, and he was one of the best guests I have met. Approachable, chatty and because I was wearing a Wonder Woman shirt he sang a quick burst of the theme tune from the television series Wonder Woman, which definitely left me with a positive impression. With all good conventions you get to speak to fans especially in the photo op line, they were a wealth of knowledge of Zachary’s career that i didn’t to check his IMDB account. Zachary’s first big television series that ran for four seasons “Less Than Perfect” also has a DC connection as his boss in the series played by Eric Roberts was in “The Dark Knight” as crime boss Sal Marconi. Other notable television roles that need a mention is Remember Sunday, Heroes Reborn, Telenovela, Tangled: The series, Alias Grace (which i highly recommend), Psych: The Movie and i am particularly excited that Zachary is going to be a recurring character in Season 2 of Amazon Prime, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. His movie work definitely needs as mention as Zachary has been part of Marvel Cinematic Universe, playing Fandral in Thor: The Dark World and Thor: Ragnarok. More notable films to mention Spiral, Wieners, Shades of Ray, The Star, Office Uprising and of the course the highly anticipated in which Zachary now part the DCU, Shazam, due for release in April 5th 2019. His fans were also keen to tell me about his two Broadway performances, First Dates and She Loves Me which earned Zachary a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical.
I also discovered that Zachary Levi and David Coleman developed their own company in 2011 called Nerd Machine HQ, Erin one of our Dc World team members sent me some photos and I admit I never knew this existed. So what is Nerd Machine HQ? From 2011 to 2016 it grew into the most popular offsite at San Diego Comic-Con. It was an annual event for those seeking Hall H type action without having to camp out all night. Whatever you may be a Nerd of people could come together to attend panels featuring top stars, discussing movies, gaming, comics, television and the dance parties where a particular huge hit. Photo op tickets could be purchased but all the profits went to several different charities over the years including Operation Smile, https://www.operationsmile.org/ Zachary is hoping to bring Nerd Machine back but more streamlined as a non profit in the future.
I was fortunate to attend Zachary Levi Q&A panel at London Film Comic Con. I genuinely enjoy panels as I like to hear actors talk about their experiences in the industry and it gives the audience members a chance to ask questions and interact. Hands down Zachary’s panel was one of the best I have attended, good questions from the audience members which gave me an indication that his fan base are loyal and have followed his career from the start. Zachary’s stage presence showed that natrual Broadway charisma, but it was the depth and detail of his answers that impressed me. Zachary didn’t talk a great deal about The Shazam movie, like us all he has only seen the trailer and doesn’t know if there will be a end credit scene.
Zachary was also also involved in supporting another non profit charity this year after being asked by his co star Rachel Brosnahan, star of Marvelous Mrs Maisel. Convenant House helps the youth experiencing homelessness, https://www.covenanthouse.org/ which has another Dc connection Erin Richards from Gotham who plays Barbara Kean also slept out all night in support of the charity.
Who is Shazam?
Shazam was created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck for Fawcett Comics, he is an ancient Wizard who gives young Billy Batson the power to transform into the superhero Captain Marvel. His adventures has been billed under the title of Shazam! since 1973. It was in 2012 when DC officially changed Captain Marvel to Shazam. The wizard and his champion shared the name Shazam in the comic book stories, revealing “Shazam” is an adopted name, his original name being Mamaragan.
When Billy Batson firsts meets the wizard Shazam he tells Billy that his name is an acronym for six ancient heroes, which I think is very cool:
S The wisdom of Solomon
H The strength of Hercules
A The stamina of Atlas
Z The power of Zeus
A The courage of Achilles
M The speed of Mercury
Whenever Billy Batson utters the word “Shazam” young Billy is struck by a magical thunderbolt and gains vast divine powers and abilities, transforming him into magics champion, the worlds mightiest mortal, Shazam. I highly recommend the New 52 Shazam comic (pictured above) it’s a great read to get us all ready for the movie.
Will Zachary Levi be a good Shazam?
Absolutely! Zachary confesses he is 14 year old boy in the body of 37 year man and wakes up most mornings hoping he has developed the skills to fly, even though he thinks teleportation is much more convenient way of traveling. Also his commitment to gaining 20 pound of weight in muscle to look like a superhero, but there is also obvious evidence by watching just a handful of his past work Zachary has got the acting chops to to bring this superhero to the cinematic screen. The Shazam movie has been directed by David F. Sandberg, who is more we’ll kown for his horror films. Asher Angel plays 14 year old Billy Batson, Jack Dylan Grazer plays Freddie Freeman and Mark Strong as Dr. Thaddeus Sivana. Next March/April when the film is released there will be a press tour where we will get to know more about how Zachary got cast in the part of Shazam and all the nerdy things we like to know about movies.
So there is my reasons why I think Zachary Levi deserves a place in the DC Worlds Hall Of Fame semi finals. So while you all click on the link to vote for Zachary I will be binge watching Chuck and catching up everything else he has done, even Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel.