Zachary Levi's Shazam! Audition Was Actually For A 'Much, Much Smaller' Role

When you take a step back to look at all of the recent projects at DC Studios, "Shazam!" feels the closest the comic book movie brand has come to capturing the optimistic spirit of the Richard Donner "Superman" movies. It's bright, buoyant, and filled with a youthful energy about being a hero of the people and, more importantly, your family. Young Billy Batson (Asher Angel) is endowed with spectacular power every time he says the word "Shazam!"

Angel does a fine job of playing teenage Billy, but the star of David F. Sandberg's superhero comedy is ultimately Zachary Levi as the titular adult super. He's such a natural fit for the role. Not only is he hilarious at emulating what a child in the body of a grown-up would do if given the chance, he also shows just how much Billy comes to love his new foster family.

Now that we know how Levi brought the DC Comics character to life, it's difficult to imagine anyone else but him in the suit. At one point, however, there could have been a "Shazam!" that featured Levi, but in an entirely different role.

Levi nearly played Adult Freddy

In a 2019 DC Fandome exclusive featurette entitled "The Magical World of Shazam!," it's revealed that Levi had initially auditioned to play the adult version of Freddy (Adam Brody). But once the tape was sent over to the folks at DC, it started to click that he seemed like a natural fit for the lead role instead. "He just feels and looks like Shazam," Sandberg said.

The "Lights Out" filmmaker even called the recently appointed co-CEO of DC Studios, Peter Safran, to make a strong argument for Levi. When they brought it to the "Chuck" star's attention, he performed a Skype audition that changed everything. "In one week I went from auditioning for a completely different character to being Shazam, which has completely changed my life in all the most tremendous of ways," Levi reflected.

When you look at the tape, it's clear that his burst of energy suited what the character called for. The funny thing about this, however, is that Levi does look more like an adult version of Grazer than Angel. He would have been perfect in the role, but it was ultimately the right move, with Adam Brody instead taking over the super suit of adult Freddy.

We get a glimpse of Levi and Brody working together in the film's finale, but we'll likely get to see more interactions between the two when "Shazam! – Fury of the Gods" comes out this March.

"Shazam!" is currently streaming on HBO Max.