Zachary Levi will introduce audiences to DC Comics’ character “Shazam!” as a fourteen-year-old boy turns into an adult superhero in the upcoming Film adaptation out soon in cinemas. The teenager Billy Batson will be played by rising star Asher Angel, who has the enviable ability to transform into his older alter-ego portrayed by Levi simply by uttering the trigger word “Shazam!”

Angel is no stranger to the bright lights, having previously starred alongside the twice Academy Award-nominated actress Jessica Chastain in the 2008 film “Jolene”.

This time around he gets to share the limelight not only with the 38-year-old American actor and singer Levi but also with the talented English star Mark Strong (“Sherlock Holmes” and the “Kingsman” films) as the devious but essential baddie in the film, Dr Thaddeus Sivana.

Foster brother’s help for Billy

Batson’s new powers emerge after an opportune meeting with a wizard, and he utilises his foster brother Freddy Freeman’s deeper understanding of what it takes to be a superhero to help develop his alternate persona, helping the two teenagers to enhance their own family relationship as a result.

Tricky auditions to find the right actor

The challenge to find an adult actor who could convince cinemagoers that they were authentically acting like a kid in the role proved extremely tricky. The team behind “Shazam!” had to audition around 100 people before they were able to find their man, but director David F. Sandberg told “The Hollywood Reporter” that Levi is “a big child in a man's body. He's perfect.”

Not that it was a simple task for Levi to get into the requisite shape for his leading role, with gym workouts and a dramatic increase in his daily calorie intake to bulk up becoming an essential feature of his life to meet viewers’ expectations of what a superhero should look like.

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Film

Sequel already being rumoured

Even that dramatic course of action may be insufficient for the potential challenge ahead, with a likely sequel to “Shazam!” already being rumoured but this time featuring Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”) as the villain Black Adam. It promises to be an interesting encounter to look forward to.

Positive initial reviews

American and British film fans can catch “Shazam!” from 5th April, with initial reviews generally seeming very positive for the ultra-kid-friendly superhero comedy vehicle.

There have been warm praise for the performances by Levi and Jack Dylan Grazer – who portrays Freddy – besides for the sterling efforts of Sandberg behind the camera.

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