Ladies and germs, a new DCEU movie is now in front of cameras. Indeed, director David F. Sandberg—who rose to prominence helming the horror hits Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation—shared on Instagram today the first slate of Shazam!, marking the beginning of filming on the new DC Comics adaptation. The story revolves around a young boy who, when he utters the magic word “Shazam!”, transforms into an adult superhero. Chuck star Zachary Levi plays the adult character, while Asher Angel fills the role of the young Billy Batson.
In contrast to the dark Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League and the edgy Suicide Squad, it sounds like Shazam! will be a different direction for the DC Extended Universe. Levi previously described the tone of the film as Big meets Superman, while Sandberg has been up front about wanting to inject a more comedic, lighter tone into the superhero movie. It sounds like it may even be lighter than Wonder Woman, which had some organic comedy but was lighter in more of a “hopeful” or “joyful” kind of way as opposed to straight-up jokes.
The casting of Levi, who’s done a lot of comedy, was our first clue, as well as the fact that New Line Cinema is behind Shazam!, not Warner Bros. proper. New Line is an arm of WB, but it’ll be interesting to see how this movie contrasts with the DC lineup thus far.
The Instagram photo also confirms that Maxime Alexandre is handling cinematographer duties, with whom Sandberg worked on Annabelle: Creation. Alexandre has a background in horror but also shot the colorful The Voices and the kid-friendly Earth to Echo, so there’s some dynamism to his past work that bodes well for Shazam!.
This is the next DC movie to go in front of cameras after Aquaman, which wrapped a few months ago ahead of a November 2018 release date. Warner Bros. is moving forward on a couple of other DC adaptations right now, chiefly Suicide Squad 2 with Gavin O’Connor at the helm—which they hope to start shooting this year—and Flashpoint, which recently landed Jonathan Goldstein and John Francis Daley to direct.
Check out the Shazam! filming tease below. The film also stars Mark Strong, Grace Fulton, and Jack Dylan Grazer and opens in theaters on April 5, 2019.