When young Billy Batson says "SHAZAM," he transforms into the adult superhero Captain Marvel. The character is nearly as old — and as powerful — as DC Comics' premiere hero, Superman. Yet, he's had far less exposure than the Man of Steel. In fact, most people who recognize Captain Marvel think his name is actually the magic word he says to access his powers. This name confusion stems partially from the fact that DC Comics is forced to market Captain Marvel under the name Shazam! because Marvel Comics owns the rights to the name.
Captain Marvel has appeared in film serials, a live-action TV show, and several cartoon series. There's also long been talk of adapting the comic book into a live-action movie along the lines of Big meets Superman. New Line Cinema had been working on an adaptation but when it folded, the scripter of the intended adaptation, John August (Big Fish), declared Billy Batson and the Legend of Shazam! a "dead" project.
However, after acquiring the rights from New Line, Warner Bros. decided to move forward with the adaptation, hiring Peter Segal (Get Smart) to direct and bringing in Bill Birch to write a new draft of the screenplay with popular comic book scribe Geoff Johns. In a recent interview with CineFools, Birch said that he and Johns are "in the thick of it, creating a kick-ass update that still honors the lore" of the character. He said that he has "read some of the previous versions," but that he and Johns are "starting fresh."
I remember being fascinated with the idea that a kid could just say "Shazam!" and become a superhero. It's the ultimate in wish fulfillment and obviously that will be a theme in the script.
As for the rumors that Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson may be stepping in to play Captain Marvel, Birch said:
My rule of thumb is that no actor is committed to do a movie until the first day of shooting is over with. (And sometimes even then the cast can still change) I know that Pete Segal and Dwayne have a relationship that was solidified when Pete directed Get Smart. As far as him being committed? I'm sure it'll all depend on the script. That being the case, I don't write with anyone in mind. If the characters are solid it will attract good talent and then there will always be a rewrite to address the talent's concerns. Usually at that point in the process is when you start writing for that specific actor. More than likely the role of Billy Batson will be an unknown but the role of Capt. Marvel? I always thought Ryan Reynolds would have been interesting but now that he's Green Lantern that's not an option. Posted 11.11.09 by BrentJS