Before getting the chance to play Shazam, a child-turned-superhero in the 2019 film Shazam!, Zachary Levi said he envied Ryan Reynolds for landing the role of the sarcastic, dark Deadpool.
In an interview at Dragon Con 2021, Levi said he had dreamt of becoming Deadpool years before Reynolds was ultimately cast for the first Deadpool movie, which was released in 2016.
“For years I’ve wanted to be Deadpool. I was so jealous that Ryan… he rocked that… when you see somebody do something that you’ve wanted to do for a long time, and they do it great, you’re like ‘kudos, rock ‘n roll,'” Levi said.
Reynolds had some previous experience with the Wade Wilson character before becoming Deadpool, as he portrayed Wilson, also known as Weapon XI or the “Mutant Killer,” in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. And with his highly-acclaimed performances in Deadpool and Deadpool 2, as well as his confirmed involvement in future Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films, Reynolds appears to be well-positioned to continue on as Deadpool for the foreseeable future.
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Levi seems like he no longer holds out hopes of becoming Deadpool or any other superhero now that he has found his role as Shazam in the DC Extended Universe, although he did seem open to being cast in the Fantastic Four reboot.
“Reed Richards would be kind of fun. But to be truthful, I don’t even really allow myself to go down those roads because I’m so good. I’m so set. The fact that I even get to be Captain Marvel/Shazam!/Billy Batson, it’s such a fun dream role. And it’s got so much different DNA than almost every other [superhero],” Levi said.
Levi first portrayed Shazam, the adult superhero version of teenaged foster child Billy Batson in Shazam!, a film that received positive reviews and grossed more than $350 million. Levi will reprise the role in Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which began filming in August 2021. It is scheduled for release in June 2023.