Zachary Levi has had the opportunity to play both Shazam in the DC Extended Universe and Fandral in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, Levi credits his failed audition in another, much bigger MCU project with landing him the role of Shazam.
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During a recent guest appearance on The Playlist’s The Fourth Well podcast, Levi revealed that he initially auditioned for the role of Peter Quill/Star-Lord in the Guardians of the Galaxy film. Levi said that he made it pretty far into the audition process after director James Gunn asked him to read for the character. Of course, Levi would go on to lose the role to Chris Pratt, but he says that trying out for the role may have helped him down the line.
“But eventually, and I think smartly, [Pratt] decided to take the job and so it didn’t go my way or anyone else’s way for that matter, but I hoped I left enough of a good impression with James that when I was auditioning for Shazam, and his very dear friend, and manager, and sometimes producing partner, Peter Safran, calls up James because this is how our industry works,” Levi said.
“Fortunately, I was in good standing with James, I try to be in good standing with as many people as I can be and try to be a decent person, and I think between that and how well James thought I did in the Star-Lord test, he said, ‘Yeah man, you really should give Zach an opportunity at this. I really think he could be great.’”
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Levi went on to say that he isn’t sure if Gunn recommending him was what put him over the top for the role, but he did say he’s “indebted” to Gunn for believing in him. Of course, Levi’s portrayal of Shazam was met with rave reviews, with many fans and critics praising the film as being one of the best in the DC Extended Universe. The sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, wrapped production earlier this year and is set to release in 2023.