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David Sandberg Reaffirms Plans For “Fun, Lighthearted” Take On Shazam; Casting News Imminent

While doing press for Annabelle: Creation, David Sandberg reaffirmed plans for a "fun, lighthearted" take on DC's Shazam.

Billy Batson’s origin story will be one of the more fun and lighthearted additions to the DC Extended Universe, according to writer-director David Sandberg.

Currently in the midst of Annabelle: Creation‘s press tour, the up-and-coming horror filmmaker spoke with Entertainment Tonight (via CBM) about Shazam, his own familiarity with the DC hero, and how we can expect to hear casting news “soon.”

But first, the film’s tone. Given Shazam revolves around the inspiring story of Billy Batson, a homeless 12-year-old who is granted the ability to harness the power of the gods – namely Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury…hence the name – it’s not all that surprising to learn that David Sandberg plans to bring a sense of levity to the DCEU. Besides, if Peter Parker and Spider-Man: Homecoming brought a crackerjack energy to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there’s no telling what Sandberg and his team can do with Shazam.

Per ET:

“It’s very fun, lighthearted movie. It’s about a kid who gets to become an adult superhero, so that’s just gonna be so fun to explore.” When pressed about casting news, the director simply stated: “hopefully soon.”

Without Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam in the cast, We Got This Covered learned exclusively that the actor had hand-picked Armie Hammer to play the adult version of Billy Batson. Whether the Powers That Be take heed of The Rock’s suggestion, though, is another matter entirely.

On the topic of Shazam and his familiarity with the source material, director David Sandberg conceded that he only came to love Batson and his story quite recently.

“To be honest, it was not a superhero I grew up with either. When I grew up in Sweden, there wasn’t a lot of Shazam around. So it’s someone who I’ve learned to love later in life as well, so I can relate to [people who are] new to Shazam. I think [it] might be a good thing that I’m doing it, because I know what you need to learn.”

Beyond the release of Justice League on November 17th, word is that Warner Bros. has earmarked Shazam to begin filming early next year ahead of a potential release in 2019. We’re still awaiting official confirmation on that tentative production timeline, but those pining for a taste of David Sandberg’s filmmaking style can look forward to the release of Annabelle: Creation on Friday, August 11th. And yes, proving that Pennywise is never too far away, Creation will come packing an exclusive 4-minute preview of New Line’s It reboot in select U.S. theaters.

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Michael Briers