A few years ago, it seemed that we may, just may, get to see the character of Shazam make it to the big screen. For one reason or another, that never came to be. Now, talking to ComingSoon.net, director Peter Segal talks about his failed project, Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam.
Segal explained, “The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman. This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters. After Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day. That’s when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it’s difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman’s resurgence.”
That Superman, huh? What a prick?
Given Segal previous work in comedy, not to mention the whole hero-in-a-kid’s-body part of Shazam, one would be forgiven for thinking that his version of Shazam may have had a kid-friendly approach. Apparently not. “It wasn’t,” said Segal. “I was working with Geoff Johns [DC royalty]. At its core, it’s a lot like Superman. There’s this boy trapped inside of a superhero’s body. He’s still a boy inside, so there’s this opportunity to play a lot of humour with the action. Originally, Stan Lee brought me Fantastic Four a number of years ago for that very reason. I always have the question when people bring me superhero properties, ‘Why me?’ With Stan, he said, ‘It’s because there’s a sense of humour within all Marvel characters.’ These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humour. When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons; to draw from that humour and to mix it with great action and pathos. I’ve always loved Shazam, but I don’t know if it’s going to see the light of day any time soon.”
So, would you be into seeing a live-action, big-screen Shazam flick?