When Zachary Levi was announced to star in DC’s Shazam!, I’ll admit, I was skeptical. But the Chuck star proved me and the rest of the doubters wrong, as Shazam! grossed $366 million worldwide. Not a home run, but a modest hit nonetheless, and one that should become profitable once it hits Blu-ray in just a few weeks. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that New Line has tapped its heroic leading man to star in the action comedy Spy Guys, Collider has confirmed.
Levi is in negotiations to play a super spy along the lines of Jason Bourne and Ethan Hunt — easier said than done, of course, but I’ve learned my lesson. When this dashing daredevil runs into trouble during an impossible mission, he’s forced to rely on the help of some old friends… from college. That’s right, they’re not spies at all! Just regular guys willing to do anything to help a friend in need.
Let’s see. New Line… action comedy… old friends… it sounds a bit like last year’s Tag, which I happened to think was kinda sweet. Sure enough, New Line has turned to that film’s helmer Jeff Tomsic to direct from a script by Adam Sztykiel (Due Date). Production is on the fast track, as New Line wants Levi to topline another movie for the studio before he returns to star in the inevitable Shazam! sequel.
It seems that New Line sees Levi as a homegrown movie star. They know their audience, and as a result, they know his audience. Why give him a major role like Shazam, where his face is all over billboards and buses and fast food joints, only to see him tackle a Paramount, Sony, or, God forbid, a Netflix movie? Levi’s career is building up steam — he’s not just the guy from Chuck and that hot Comic Con party anymore — so it’s smart of New Line to hitch its wagon to his rising star. It means something to be in theaters these days, and this deal would keep Levi up there, 40-feet tall. That’s nothing to sneeze at on a day when George Clooney announced he was taking his talents to Netflix.
Spy Guys has been around for a while, as it was originally developed as a starring vehicle for Andy Samberg. Samberg is now producing with his Lonely Island buddies Jorma Taccone and Akiva Schaffer, as well as John Rickard, who produced Rampage and the Horrible Bosses movies for New Line. I hope Samberg finds a way to cameo in this one, considering he’s only two years older than Levi, and totally believable as one of his college buddies. You could even kill him off first, Emilio Estevez-style.
In addition to NBC’s Chuck, Levi is best known for playing Fandral in the Thor sequels, and voicing Flynn Rider in Disney’s animated hit Tangled. UTA represents both Levi and Tomsic, who are managed by Untitled Entertainment and 3 Arts Entertainment, respectively. Deadline broke the news of Levi’s casting.