Welcome back to another edition of Fantasy Fridays, where two real-life best friends who ended up working at LRM together get to pretend to be Studio Execs by casting, staffing, and/or pitching fanboy-centric projects. Last week, we made our case for what the next wave of Marvel series on Netflix should center on. This week we turn our attention towards DC's Shazam!
This week gave us the first real updates on Shazam! in quite some time. With both producer Hiram Garcia and star Dwayne Johnson (who's locked in to play Black Adam) taking to social media to hype up how well a key meeting with the WB/DC brass went. Johnson made a statement about how the future of the DC Extended Universe looks to embrace an outlook of "Hope, Optimism, and FUN," and that got us thinking about how to best tackle a Shazam! movie that wants to be all of those things.
Just as I conceded last week: I'm not a comic book guy. Jeremy Scully is. So when it comes to a character like Shazam! my knowledge is a little limited. My main exposure to him is from the Kingdom Come graphic novel and the Superman/Shazam!: The Return of Black Adam animated movie. So I won't be chiming in on every aspect; Only the ones I think I can really bring something to.
Here we go!
SCULLY'S PICK FOR DIRECTOR(S): Depending on the tone of the movie, either Chris Columbus (Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone) or Phil Lord and Chris Miller (The LEGO Movie). Chris Columbus if they wanted that Harry Potter whimsical feel. Lord and Miller if they go a more 21 Jump Street route, actually using comedy and humor to depict the ridiculous scenario of a young boy turning into a grown man superhero.
MFR'S PICK FOR DIRECTOR: I know he's already deeply entrenched with Disney, and he practically singlehandedly helped launch the Marvel Cinematic Universe a we know, but since this is al fantasy anyway...I'd love to see Jon Favreau jump ship, come to the dark side, and make an awesome Shazam! The man knows how to bring the thrills, the laughs, and- most importantly- the heart. And since I envision the film as a coming-of-age tale with ample amounts of humor and spectacle, I'd need someone who can get me to feel feels, and Favreau knows how to balance all that.
OUTLINE: Either a reluctant villain who simply wants to protect his homeland or a straight up villain who plots revenge due to some injustice made against his homeland.
PICK FOR ACTOR: Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson (Duh. That's a done deal.)
OUTLINE: Still a mad scientist, either working on a special project for Black Adam, or potentially a side villain who unleashes Black Adam (somehow finding a way to bind him) to fight Shazam, while Sivana plans some other ulterior scheme.
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: John Hurt (if it’s Columbus directing), Brian Tyree Henry (if it’s Phil Lord and Chris Miller).
MFR's PICK: Clint Howard
OUTLINE: The being/entity that gives Billy Batson his powers based on the Gods!
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: Morgan Freeman (if it’s Columbus directing and because he always does these roles), Danny DeVito (If it's Phil Lord, Chris Miller).
MFR'S PICK: Jason Isaacs
BILLY BATSON'S ADOPTIVE PARENTS
OUTLINE: Batson is an orphan (typically his parents are murdered, but I’d have the story leave it open that maybe there is something more to them).
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: Richard Kind and Jane Lynch (regardless who directs!)
OUTLINE: For the movie he will be like a “spirit animal” guide that watches over Billy and helps him become a hero. He’s a humanoid, talking tiger.
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: Ralph Fiennes (if Columbus), Doug Jones w/voice of Liam Neeson (Chris Miller, Phil Lord).
And now for the hero himself...
OUTLINE: The adopted boy who is chosen by The Wizard to bear the power of Shazam! and stop Black Adam. He'd be the true heart and soul of the movie.
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: Gaten Matarazzo (If it's Columbus), Jeremy Shada (Yeah he’s a little old for the part, but he works well with Lord and Miller).
MFR'S PICK: Emjay Anthony. He was Favreau's son in Chef . If you haven't seen Chef , we can't be friends. Go to Netflix now. Anthony's got chops.
OUTLINE: Superhero who gets his powers from reciting a magic acronym. He's basically a god-like shell for the young boy, Billy, to inhabit.
SCULLY'S PICKS FOR ACTORS: Alan Ritchson (with black hair, Columbus directing). I think he’s got the “All-American” good boy look going for him, he’s played DC heroes before (Aquaman on Smallville), and can easily imitate the mannerisms and actions of a child (since technically it’s teenage Billy Batson mind inside the body of the hero). John Krasinski- hear me out! First and foremost he’s gotta get into like the most amazing shape of his life, but he’s 6’3 and wide, and even really built will look like a normal WWE wrestler (still freaking huge) but not appear as big as The Rock obviously, so that allows Rock to keep his intimidating presence while it not looking ridiculous that Shazam could stand up to him. Krasinski is perfect with comedic timing and if Miller and Lord are writing and directing, he’d kill it with perfect deadpan deliveries.
MFR'S PICKS: John Cena. It's simple. He's got the look, and I could totally believe that he's controlled by the mind of a boy.
And, to close this out, a reprise of the very first time we ever allowed our friendship to spill over into our LRM offerings:
A Micro Edition Of "Scully & MFR's Texts From The Apocalypse!"
Scully doesn't know that I'm including this exchange. And he may get pissed at me for this, but that's fine because nobody likes him and he's going to die alone anyway.
What do you think of our fantasy picks for Shazam!? Who's got the better picks?! Who would YOU pick? Chime in below!