Mythology, Cursing Children, and More

I love the fact that this isn’t dark, and I’d love to know how you balance the tone between some of the darker aspects of it with the sort of joyful feel of the whole movie.

Yeah, I think the joy is sort of there naturally in the character, and the actors certainly bring that to it. It’s like being a child. But no, I think you need some dark moments as well to just make the threat and the danger feel real. Those are the kind of movies that I love the most. You have a little bit of that sprinkled in to make it all feel real and dangerous.

We spoke to you after the screening, and one of the things you were talking about is making a movie about a DC character who isn’t one of DC’s big three [Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman], so you don’t get as much anger online. I’d love to hear more about your thoughts on that, and would you ever want to do something with one of the big three?

I think the trick is with someone like Superman, for instance, there have been so many different versions of it, and everyone has their own idea of what it has to be. That’s the great thing about Shazam: There haven’t been that many versions of him, and people don’t know that much about it. There haven’t been movies before. There’ve been TV shows and serials and things like that. So I think people are more open to it. They aren’t so set in that, “This is what it needs to be” [mentality]. There’re a couple of them like that.

There are always a couple of them.

But it is freeing — we can do our version of it. And now I think it would be quite daunting to take on someone that’s more known.

I was watching “Graham Norton” and Helen Mirren mentioned that she broke her finger and that it was sort of bent, but she said no one knew on set. Did you know?

No, I found out afterwards. I was like, “Why? She didn’t tell us.” But I mean, she’s such a trooper. She wanted to do her own stunts and everything and she does a lot of it. We put her on wires and got her up in the air and everything. She’s hardcore.

How did you get her? Because just hearing that she was going to be in a superhero film was so cool.

I was surprised because that was sort of our reference of, “Oh, someone like Helen Mirren, imagine that.” So we asked her to sort of just, “Okay, we’ll get her ‘no’ and then we’ll move on.” But she actually said yes, and that affected the rest of the casting as well. Because the role of Kalypso by Lucy Liu, originally, we started just doing auditions and trying to find someone lesser known, but when Helen Mirren said yes, it was like, “Okay, we have to really up our game here and find someone who can act against her.” And then we thought of Lucy Liu, and she said yes as well. It probably helped Helen Mirren already said yes.

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