We just learned that Jovan Armand and Ian Chen had been cast in ‘Shazam!’ in the roles of Pedro Peña and Eugene Choi, respectively, two characters first glimpsed in the ‘Flashpoint’ comic book crossover and then added to the supporting cast of ‘Shazam!’ in the New 52 relaunch. The New 52 take on ‘Shazam!’ was a modernization with its focal character, Billy Batson acting… well, nothing like the wide-eyed, optimistic youngster he’d always been depicted as. This new Billy was a bit harder to like, to put it mildly.
With the confirmation that Pedro and Eugene were part of the film, it begs the question of how much of the adaptation will draw from that particular interpretation of ‘Shazam!’. Director David F. Sandberg took the opportunity to respond to just how different his Billy, played by Asher Angel, will be from the New 52 comic book version.
He’s not a huge dickhead.
— David F. Sandberg (@ponysmasher) December 12, 2017
But to be objective, yes the New 52 Billy was a “huge dickhead,” but can’t the same be said about Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark or Benedict Cumberbatch’s Stephen Strange? Their journeys were about them learning to be humble and selfless before rising as heroes. The same approach could work for Billy Batson in ‘Shazam’, but there’s just something about an asshole teenager that’s so much worse than an adult. Maybe it’s because an adult asshole is usually smart and charming at the same time, while punk ass teenagers are assholes but neither smart nor charming.
At any rate, Armand and Chen join Jack Dylan Grazer who portrays another foster sibling, Freddy Freeman. Most likely, castings for Mary Bromfield (Batson) and Darla Dudley are forthcoming.
Zachary Levi portrays Billy’s adult superhero alter ego, Shazam, with Mark Strong rumored to be playing villain Doctor Sivana. David J. MacNeil portrays Mr. Bryer, the father of two bullies that pick on Billy and the other orphans. ‘Annabelle: Creation’‘s Grace Fulton has been cast in an undisclosed role. As the film nears production, expect more castings to be announced soon.
‘Shazam!’ booms into theaters on April 5, 2019.