Shazam! Fury Of The Gods' Asher Angel And Jack Dylan Grazer Slept Over In The Superhero Lair [Exclusive Interview]

We're days away from "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" hitting theaters, and in the sequel to the 2019 film "Shazam!," we find the Shazamily fighting crime and not exactly being recognized for it. They're still keeping their transformation from foster kids into superheroes a secret, but they've certainly upgraded a few things. Aside from being two years older (there were delays in the movie due to the pandemic), the gang has decorated their superhero lair, and some of them have crushes on literal goddesses. 

Things have also changed a bit between Billy (Asher Angel) and Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer). Billy really wants to keep the family going and is trying (and not really succeeding) as a leader in his Shazam persona (portrayed by Zachary Levi). Meanwhile, Freddy is taking his superhero form (Adam Brody) out for a little solo crime fighting. When a new threat appears in their city, however, they'll have to work together with the entire family to save the world. 

I recently spoke to Grazer and Angel about the superhero lair, who they are now, working with the wizard, and getting in trouble on the set. 

Note: This interview has been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

'They let us have a sleepover in the lair'

I'd love to hear how things have progressed since the last movie.

Grazer: Touching on the love interest, that's new. I don't think we have a love interest in the first film, so there's that element. There's also these kids, I mean, that's also part of it. The kids are trying to access their independence because they're growing into young adulthood and it's a big step. But also, there's another part of it they have to tackle, which is keeping their superhero secret covered up behind the curtain. And then again, being kids, making mistakes and learning lessons. They learn the hard way about a lot of things.

The relationship between you guys is totally different this time. It really feels like brotherhood.

Grazer: We know each other more. Also in real life. And in the movie. 

Angel: And in the movie.

Grazer: And in the world. 

You guys have a lair on set. It's so cool. What things in the lair did you guys have any say in? Favorite things?

Angel: Oh brother, it was so cool.

Grazer: They let us have a sleepover in the lair.

Angel: We actually snuck in ... but it's kind of on the down low ... It was the first week we got there, we were doing rehearsals, and we just decided, "We should stay here and really focus and hone in on our characters."

Grazer: Yeah, try to get really in the line.

Angel: The mindset of the characters. It was super method. 

Was there anything specifically in the lair, little things we should be looking for? Easter eggs?

Grazer: I think there's a piece of [director] David Sandberg's umbilical cord dried up, somewhere in there. It's like a little Easter egg. Little homage of the director.

Angel: I didn't see that. I missed that. Wow. News to me. [Laughs]

Grazer: It was after I ate it.

Angel: How lovely. I bet it was delicious.

Grazer: I thought it was a caper. [laughs]

[Laughs] Things have taken a turn!

'Billy's obviously gone through a lot of trauma in his life'

Billy's been dealing with PTSD and I thought that was really interesting. Did you do any research on that to bring it into the character?

Angel: Yeah, I think Billy's obviously gone through a lot of trauma in his life. He's always going to have this sense of vulnerability that I feel lives just inside of him. I mean, I tried as best as I could with David to really hone in on the new and improved Billy. He still has that soft spot, obviously, but we kind of just worked that out in rehearsals and I wanted to — Zach and I have a different interpretation of Billy, obviously. So that was kind of a part of the process and the deep dive.

Did you guys get together with your counterparts and talk about mannerisms or was it just sort of a feeling?

Grazer: It's sort of just a feeling. Maybe one moment, probably there was in the first one that we did. I met Adam Brody and shook his hand and said, "Good luck. Let's wing it and we'll knock it out of the park." And he's like, "Yeah, okay." And that's what we did. All the rest is history. We just kind of form it as we go.

You spend a lot of time with a certain wizard. Those scenes were so much fun. You guys have great chemistry. What was it like shooting those?

Grazer: Those were [to Angel] no offense ... those were probably my favorite.

Angel: None taken!

Grazer: It was great because Djimon [Honsou, who plays the wizard Shazam] never got mad at me, but you could tell that when he would start, he would crack up a little bit. He'd get frustrated with himself. He's like, "God, you're not a good actor. You're so unprofessional." He's so hard on himself. And I loved getting that out of him. I loved infuriating him. I remember one time, there was a take — I don't know if I can say that. No, I won't. But he got upset because I heard there was a take and I kept making him laugh because I would turn around and be like, I was like, "You're not even a real wizard!" or I was doing something –

Angel: So basically he did the same thing to me that you did to him.

Grazer: Yeah, I did it to everybody. I'm just really hard, really difficult.

Angel: Good actor, though!

'Jack's always getting into some kind of trouble'

To go back to the sleepover thing. Was it just you guys?

Angel: It was just us. Yeah, we had a bunch of food ... also the horror movies.

Grazer: Sichuan-flavored food. Lots of Diet Dr Pepper. 

Angel: Super healthy.

You've got a horror director here, and I know there were a lot of nods. I remember in the trailer there was the Fulci sign. Are there any others that you guys saw or wanted to put in there? 

Grazer: Any that I wanted to put on there? Yeah, I think there was, in the bedroom, I drew a pentagram, a very small one on the wall just to screw with him. No, I didn't. [laughs] I would never take liberties like that. I would get in trouble. I get trouble anyway just for being myself.

[Laughs] Who is getting in trouble for what on set?

Grazer: Asher is never getting in trouble.

Angel: Oh, Jack. Jack's always getting into some kind of trouble. Always. It's always Jack. "Where's Jack? Jack? Where is Jack? Where did he go?"

Grazer: It's worth it. But also they got mad at me — I found a water gun. I didn't spray anybody with water. I was just holding it and they said, "That's not for you!" I guess that's fine. Yeah. That's not for me.

Angel: That's why he's perfect for Freddy.

Grazer: I guess I should be less Freddy ... something more palatable.

Angel: No, you're great. Just keep being you, bro.

'It's like Christopher Reeve's Superman meets Big'

The tone of this is so lovely. It's such a nice message about family. I'd love to know your thoughts on that, because so many superheroes are so dark now. 

Grazer: It's so refreshing to see a take on a superhero film that's full of levity, and almost like an aloof nonchalance that's like, "Oh my gosh, being a superhero doesn't have to be brooding or intense." But I think that it's a great thing to see a unique take. We're following the life of a kid, a 17-year-old boy who has the power to transform into a superhero. It's like Christopher Reeve's "Superman" meets "Big."

I know there are no plans [that we know of] for a third movie, but is there something you would want to see for your characters if there was?

Grazer: Handlebar mustache?

Angel: I knew there was something coming. I knew something was wrong ... But listen, we know more than ever, Jack just wants to fly.

Grazer: I kind of flew a little bit when I looked into Helen's [Mirren] eyes.

Angel: Yeah, she got you flying? She got you flying?

[Laughs] Okay, I have to ask about your experience with Helen.

Grazer: She literally made me levitate because I'm so deeply in love with her.

Everyone is in love with her!

Grazer: I know!

"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" will hit theaters on March 17, 2023.