Zachary Levi is suiting up again in “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” this time taking on a trio of villains played by Dame Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler.
“Extra’s” Terri Seymour spoke with Levi about going head-to-head with Mirren and an injury she suffered during filming.
Of their fight sequence, Zachary noted that it “doesn’t really get cooler than that,” adding, “We beat the crap out of each other and she was so about it.”
That massive brawl lead to Helen injuring her pinky — but nobody knew about it until recently!
Zachary commented, “I found out with the rest of the world when she was on ‘Graham Norton,’ so I had no idea this was even happening. But she’s such a trouper. She just kept pushing right through it.”
Zachary praised Helen, saying, “She’s everything you want her to be, she’s everything you think, everything you think she could be and what you, you hope that she’s gonna be. And then some, really… She’s a dame, but doesn’t throw that around, she’s just super chill and cool and grounded and humble and collaborative and brings such a grace and a calming presence wherever she goes… You just feel like you’re in really safe, good hands with her.”
As for returning to the “Shazam” world as Shazam aka Billy Batson, Levi commented, “It’s so great. I was so grateful and so blessed that I got the job to begin with in the first one. We had so much fun making the first one and are so grateful for everyone who went out and saw the movie both in the theaters and then later, and supported us and have continued to support me… The fact that we got a sequel is just such a huge win, and I’m really grateful that we get to run this back, that I get to play this character more because it’s so fun.”
In the new movie, Levi’s Shazam is feeling like a fraud, which he said was fun for him to play. He said, “It doesn’t take much to tap into one’s own imposter syndrome… As an actor, I don’t know, you’re always kind of wondering, ‘Is this good, Am I not? Do people enjoy this?’ I go and try and find that and recognize that Billy, like everybody else, is trying to find his place in the world and wants to be the best brother and the best son and the best leader and all these things that he can be… It’s fun being able to kind of tap into more human moments like that.”
If there is a third “Shazam!” movie, where would he like it to go?
Zachary answered, “I would like to see the Shazamily taking on the undead, like hordes of the undead that are just coming at them. I think that would be fun.”
He went on, “With these movies, you gotta have a villain… It’s tough,, though because you don’t want to make it, you know, regular human beings, you don’t wanna be going and killing a bunch of human beings, or whatever. Like, who can you lay waste to that as the audience, you’re not totally, like, you know, alienating everybody? And that’s why oftentimes you have aliens or you have robots or you have things like that, but I’ve never seen the undead. I really want to see that.”
As for who could play the next baddie, Levi suggested a British actor. He pointed out, “The Brits always play good foils. You know, it’s ‘Star Wars,’ you guys are always the bad guys, so I don’t know. I haven’t really got so far as to who that character who would play that character would be but I think in a general premise, I think zombies would be a lot of fun to kill.”
Levi isn’t sure when a third movie could come out, noting, “We gotta go tell people to watch this one.” He added that it’s up to the bosses to determine the future of the franchise.
Could Shazam appear in any other upcoming movies? Zachary played coy, saying, “I don’t know. Way above my pay grade.”
Regardless of who he is killing, Zachary has to be in Shazam shape. Of his workout routine for the second movie, he dished, “I mean, the first time was a little more intense because I had to put on weight that I had never really had before. I was always about 200 lbs. most of my life… and I put on about 20 more lbs. for the first film. Then I just tried to maintain that as best I could, but that still requires, you know, 45 days in the gym and 4,000, 5,000 calories a day, which is really the worst part of the whole deal.”
Along with working out, Levi ate “boring calories,” like chicken and broccoli.
Zachary loves to challenge himself, so what was the most challenging part of the movie? He answered, “The most challenging part of this movie was the harness work. Every time you’re flying, you have to wear these incredibly tight harnesses that might as well just be diapers that are torture diapers, basically. That’s what they are and, so, those suck and they hurt a lot and they chafe and they bruise and they cut and they do all these things.”
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” is in theaters March 17.
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