I don’t know if it’s possible to make a fun movie if the actors aren’t, themselves, fun people. It goes without saying that Shazam is super fun, engaging and a world that’s just a blast to visit, but you don’t get that kind of lightning in a bottle unless you’ve got all the right chemistry to make it happen.
I was curious about how Zachary Levi, Jack Dylan Grazer, and Asher Angel interacted as people in real life, so I watched some interviews. It turns out that Zachary Levi is a lot like his Shazam character. He’s managed to grow up with his teen humor still very much intact. He and his young costars got along famously in the interviews, finishing each other’s sentences and sharing the limelight with easy, natural banter. If anything, Zachary’s energy level was way above his costar’s. Jack and Asher almost seemed amused at his high-octane-always-at-an-11 enthusiasm.
A lot of interviewers asked Asher and Zachary if they studied each other to get their characters’ personalities to mesh. They skirted around the question a little bit, in my opinion. I’m going to have to say they didn’t appear to attempt it, but I think the movie was better because they didn’t. Asher’s character was low-key, internalizing a lot of his inner struggle. At no point did he exude any kind of excitement for anything other than fantasizing about meeting his long-lost mother. The Shazam alter-ego bounces off the walls at nearly everything that happens to him. Had Zachary Levi attempted to channel Asher’s character (Billy Batson) we would have had a different movie. Picture Shazam brooding over the city, crossing out names in his notebook and pining for his mom. It’s okay that Billy Batson’s alter ego is…alter.
With all the right mojo in place, I think we’ve got some entertaining sequels to look forward to in the future!