Aug 30, 2007

'Shazam’ Will Be A ‘Big’ Comic Book Movie

It was Voltaire who once said that if God didn’t exist, it would be necessary to invent him. It was screenwriter John August who said the same thing about Captain Marvel.

“If Captain Marvel didn’t pre-exist and there was just an idea of a 13-year-old boy who can speak a magic word and turn into a superhero — that’s a great idea,” the writer declared on the eve of turning in his completed draft for “Shazam.” “If it hadn’t been around for 50 years and someone just wrote it as a spec script, that would sell cause it’s a really good idea.”

It’s an idea whose time has come. A comic book film which centers on an unlikely hero, “Shazam” is “very different” from all “the other flying people in tights movies,” insisted August. “It’s not Spider-Man plus jokes. There’s really good comic potential there,” he asserted, revealing that his film — an origin story — owes as much to “Big” as it does to “Superman.”

“Yeah, I avoid saying that because that incenses certain people,” August laughed of the comparison. “But the people that are going to go see this movie opening weekend are going to be excited to see [action and comedy] together.”

And they’re going to see it very soon, August confessed. “I’m turning in ‘Shazaam’ tomorrow,” he said. “Literally, you’re keeping me from the keyboard!”

“I knew what I was getting into,” he continued. “In a sense, even with a character that doesn’t have the giant spotlight on him like Superman or Batman, there’s a tremendously loyal fanbase who have very clear expectations about what they think a Captain Marvel movie should be. What people tend to really forget is that I’m just pushing words around on paper and doing the best job I can. But it’s weird that there’s such a spotlight on a movie that’s just now 119 pages of 12-point Courier.”

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