Alongside Lucy Liu’s Kalypso, Helen Mirren’s Hespera will represent the aggrieved Daughters of Atlas who, judging by the “Shazam! Fury Of The Gods” trailers, aren’t too happy that Billy Batson and his foster siblings “stole the power of all the Gods.” The esteemed Mirren looks to bring a suitably menacing aura to proceedings, and will no doubt elevate the tone of the film as a whole — something David F. Sandberg was likely counting on when he reached out Mirren in the first place.
In the March 2023 issue of SFX magazine, the director revealed that he never really expected Mirren to say yes:
“We wanted to aim high. It was like, ‘What would be the dream? The dream would be Helen Mirren. So let’s try. We’ll ask her first and when she says no we’ll go down the line.’ But she said yes! I think that emboldened us a bit, because then it was like, ‘Ooh, can we get Lucy Liu to be the sister?’ It probably helped that Helen had already said yes, because then we could say to Lucy, ‘Do you want to play Helen Mirren’s sister?'”
Whereas “Shazam!” was an outlier in the DCEU — a smaller production based on lesser-known characters that functioned as something of an experiment — this time, Sandberg obviously had a little more notoriety to work with. That and Helen Mirren is clearly in a phase of her career where she’s looking to have some fun and branch out a bit (see also: her ongoing role in the “Fast & Furious” franchise).