Before landing the title role in DC’s Shazam!, Zachary Levi had a pretty eventful history with the Marvel brand. Not only did the Chuck star replace Josh Dallas in the role of Fandral for the second and third Thor movies, but the actor also tried out for the part of Peter Quill in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, ultimately losing out to Chris Pratt.
Levi’s audition came up in a recent interview with Screen Rant. Having previously discussed how he initially turned down the role of Shazam, Levi went on to observe how Pratt did the same with Star-Lord, before ultimately proving well-suited for the part.
“It was oddly or ironically reminiscent of when I was camera testing for Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy,” Levi said. “I knew that Chris Pratt had also passed on that role, and I wanted it so bad. There was definitely a strange thing of, ‘Wow, when you are not holding onto something so tightly…’ If it’s not something you’re dying for, but you can have an unbiased, somewhat clear idea of what you are trying to go after, and know that you are just being you, you are bringing your essence.”
According to Levi, it was his own childish ‘essence’ that landed him the lead role in Shazam!
“Ultimately, that’s what I think got me this job,” Levi explained. “It’s what New Line saw. It’s what Warner Brothers saw. It’s what [director David F. Sandberg] saw and [producer] Peter Safran saw. They knew they needed to cast someone that could be as exuberant or optimistic or sassy as a 14-year-old boy. And damn it, that’s me in a nutshell.”
Though we’ll never know how Levi would’ve fared in the role of Star-Lord, Pratt went on find much success as the leader of the Guardians, and is expected to continue his run in the MCU with the upcoming Avengers: Endgame. Beyond that, the Guardians of the Galaxy series should have at least one more movie left in it, despite Vol. 3 experiencing heavy setbacks in the wake of director James Gunn’s departure.
Funnily enough, like Levi before him, Gunn has now made the jump from Marvel to DC as the director of the next Suicide Squad movie, which was announced just last week to be headed for an August 6th, 2021, release date. Next on the DCEU agenda, however, is Shazam! which is set to hit theaters on April 5th, 2019.