Exclusive: Shazam! movie teases LGBT superhero character

Shazam! poster

There is a new superhero in town as Warner Bros.’ Shazam! hits cinemas on Friday, April 5, and the film’s director and producer are teasing that it may feature a LGBT+ superhero.

Shazam! is the heartwarming, family-fuelled story of Billy Batson (played by Asher Angel), a teenager who is bestowed with superhero powers and has the ability to transform into an adult-size superhero by saying, “Shazam!” Zachary Levi stars as the adult Billy Batson.

Speaking to PinkNews about the dearth of LGBT+ superheroes in Hollywood films, Shazam! director David F. Sandberg and producer Peter Safran teased that a LGBT+ hero could be on its way as soon as April 5.

Shazam! LGBT superhero is coming

“Don’t want to put spoilers [out there] or anything … but I think you will see one sooner rather than later,” Sandberg teased to PinkNews.

Coaxed for more details, Safran told PinkNews: “I think on April 5th it will become clear…”

April 5 is, of course, the release date for Shazam! The plot thickens…

Watch the interview with the Shazam! cast and crew below:

Elsewhere, Shazam! co-star Mark Strong, who plays villain Thaddeus Sivana, told PinkNews he thinks it’s time for a LGBT+ superhero in a major Hollywood film.

Shazam!’s Mark Strong: ‘It’s time’ for LGBT superhero

“[I don’t think we’re] very far at all,” said Strong. “Society is changing—people are becoming much more inclusive, they’re becoming aware of people who have been excluded.

“The more the merrier, I say. I think it’s time.”

Disney’s Marvel Studios and Warner Bros., the two film studios that dominate the comic book movie landscape, have yet to feature a lead character who is LGBT. Warner Bros. released its first female superhero-fronted film—Wonder Woman—in 2017, while Marvel just recently released its first female hero-fronted movie, Captain Marvel.

Shazam! star Zachary Levi teases showdown with The Rock’s Black Adam

Shazam! star Zachary Levi told PinkNews he wasn’t aware of Shazam, the superhero first introduced in DC Comics in 1939, before researching the role. But he quickly grew an affinity to the part.

“I realised this is a dream gig for me, because I’ve always had a little arrested development in my maturity,” Levi laughed. “So I got to channel that into being a 14-year-old kid at heart, which is a lot of fun.”

The Shazam! movie has been gestating at Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema for a long time. At one point, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson (who is credited as an executive producer of the film) was set to star in it, playing Shazam’s foe Black Adam.

Later, it was reported that Johnson’s Black Adam would first appear in his own standalone movie, before a showdown with Shazam.

Levi told PinkNews about the proposed Shazam versus Black Adam movie: “I do think that, if we’re not working toward the classic final showdown between Shazam and Black Adam, then I don’t know what we’re doing. That’s the big fight.”

“We’re moving in that direction … those all are conversations that are happening above my pay grade,” said Levi. “I know there’s a lot of enthusiasm for the film—Warner Bros. and New Line are very happy with it. And depending on the box office, I think we’ll have a good chance of making some sequels.”

Shazam! is released worldwide on Friday, April 5.

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