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Fun Film Facts: Shazam!

Fun Film Facts: Shazam!

By George Taylor Thursday, June 25th, 2020

How much do you know about your favorite DC movies? In our debut edition of Fun Film Facts, we unlock some of the Rock of Eternity’s secrets about the making of SHAZAM!

2019’s SHAZAM! was a big hit at the box office and with fans. It was directed by David F. Sandberg—his first foray into the superhero genre after success in the world of horror. (Fun fact: Sandberg’s first feature, Lights Out, came about as a result of a 2 minutes and 42 seconds scene he shot that went viral!)

By now we all know that SHAZAM! starred superfan Zachary Levi as the biggest superhero kid ever, but…

Did You Know?


Photo by Steve Wilkie/ & © DC Comics

  • Shazam, alter ego of young Billy Batson, first appeared in comic books in 1940’s Whiz Comics #2, published by Fawcett Comics, and was the first comic book superhero to be adapted to film in the 1941 live-action serial, Adventures of Captain Marvel. (Fun fact: In a case of art imitating…well, art, according to artist C.C. Beck, he based the initial look of the superhero we now know as Shazam on movie actor Fred MacMurray.)
     
  • Just prior to SHAZAM!’s principal photography beginning in Toronto, Canada, the temperature was as low as -15 degrees Celsius (5 degrees Fahrenheit). Temps would drop even lower at times throughout production.
     
  • It took an average of twenty minutes for Zac Levi to get into his Shazam costume.
     
  • Working out five to six days a week, Levi also consumed a diet composed of 35% protein, 55% fat and a lean 10% carbohydrate, with a tablespoon of fish oil for “dessert.” (Fun fact: There’s just over eight weeks till DC FanDome—start prepping now to feel your superhero strongest for a 24-hour spectacular experience!)


Photo by Steve Wilkie/ & © DC Comics

  • An ongoing challenge for the SHAZAM! costume team, led by costume designer Leah Butler, is a common one with superhero films: an actor’s oft-changing physique. Butler says that thanks to diet and exercise, an actor’s body can change quite a bit during filming, so a superhero suit may have to be modified all throughout production.
     
  • When he was not playing the supehero—or working out to keep in super shape—one of Levi’s favorite pastimes was playing the Super Mario Kart video game.
     
  • To capture the tilting Ferris wheel in the carnival sequence, SHAZAM! director of photography Maxime Alexandre and his team utilized seven different cameras.
     
  • According to SHAZAM! production designer Jennifer Spence, the statues representing the Seven Deadly Sins that reside in the Rock of Eternity were hand-sculpted by artisans using such textural references as tree bark or elephant skin to give each Sin a unique look. Spence says that, to her, “They were each beautiful—in an ugly, scary way!”


Photo by Steve Wilkie/ & © DC Comics

  • To create the eerie red lights that emanate from the eyes in the Seven Deadly Sins statues, DP Alexandre and his team conducted numerous light tests, but ultimately removed a small piece from a light meter and inserted one in each socket.
     
  • The production utilized several different buses to film the scene in which Shazam must save a city bus full of passengers falling from a bridge, including one bus to dangle off the edge of the bridge and one that they cut in half.
     
  • The SHAZAM! props department crafted four individual staffs for the character of the Wizard (played by Djimon Hounsou), which he uses to transfer his powers to Billy Batson.


Shazam!, starring Zachary Levi, Asher Angel and Mark Strong, is available for streaming on HBO Max. Not yet a subscriber? Kick things off with a free seven-day trial.