The 'Shazam' Family Adds Adam Brody and D.J. Cotrona

Shazam By Gary Grank

Zachary Levi will not be alone in his fight against the diabolical Mark Strong.

One of the most intriguing superhero adaptations coming our way has to be Shazam. A film that first cast its main opponent and then decided not to include him in the origin story. Operating on the fringes of the DCEU, Zachary Levi will be filling the boots of “the big red cheese” for this comic book version of Penny Marshall’s Big. Shazam promises to be a similar childhood wish-fulfillment story with heaps more face-punching.

Based on a DC Comics character who used to go by the name Captain Marvel (before their competing company trademarked the moniker for their space traveller who also happens to have a film heading our way), the story revolves around a foster child who stumbles upon the hidden Rock of Eternity. There the Wizard Shazam grants young Billy Batson the powers of his name – (S)olomon, (H)ercules, (A)tlas, (Z)eus, (A)chilles, and (M)ercury. The boy magically transforms into the beefcake Zachary Levi, and hopefully he’ll find some maturity to prevent him from going full-Chronicle.

We already know that the main face that needs punching in Shazam will belong to Mark Strong. As the diabolical Doctor Sivana, DC’s go-to bad guy actor will easily provide the necessary scenery chewing for villainy. We also know that young Billy’s foster pals have been fulfilled as well by the young ensemble of Grace Fulton, Jack Dylan Grazer, Jovan Armand, Faithe Herman, and Ian Chen. If the film follows the route of the latest “New 52” iteration of the character, those friends could be in for a superhero surprise as well.

According to Heroic Hollywood, Adam Brody has just been cast in the film. While he could be playing any number of characters, speculation immediately runs to Captain Marvel Jr. Not so fast. Yes, that sidekick has been a staple of the comics nearly since its creation, but what little we’ve heard about David F. Sandberg’s film seems to reveal an infatuation with the most recent Geoff Johns and Gary Frank run of the comic book. Brody could simply be playing one of Billy’s suped-up friends.

That From Dusk Till Dawn’s D.J. Cotrona is also now rumored to be part of the cast suggests that this film will see all of the kid actors transformed into The Shazam Family. Cotrona is the spitting image of the muscle-bound grown-up incarnation of the character Pedro Peña (played young by Armand), and Adam Brody kinda looks like an adult version of Jack Dylan Grazer, who plays Freddy Freeman. Levi’s Shazam may not be the only hero living out his Big-like fantasies.

CBR.com is also reporting that the rest of the adult counterparts of the kids could be Michelle Borth, Ross Butler, and Megan Good. While nothing has actually been confirmed by the studio, the expectation is that Borth will play Mary Marvel, Butler will be Eugene, and Good will be Darla — respectively the older versions of Fulton, Chen, and Herman. That’s a mighty band of allies to watch Levi’s back.

Towards the climax of the comic book, when fighting off the villainous Black Adam, Billy Batson splinters off his powers to infect his friends. With the combined power of the Wizard Shazam, the kids win the day. What separates The Shazam Family from characters like Batman and Superman is that they take preposterous amounts of glee in their strength. Granted the power to lift a Hummer like it was a Tonka truck, the devastation of Metropolis seen in Man Of Steel is just another sandbox for these kids to wreck.

Billy Batson/Shazam will have to keep these ‘roided-out babies in check. With no dead Uncle Ben or the wisdom of “With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility” to guide them, Zachary Levi must be the heart and mind of these super friends.

Trekkie, Not Trekker. Weekly Columnist for Film School Rejects, co-host of the In The Mouth of Dorkness Podcast.