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film news

Actor-turned-writer says yes to Shazam!

Posted by Patrick Sauriol on Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Warner Bros. hasn't had any success so far in developing the DC Comics property Shazam! into a movie. Writer after writer after writer has sat down in front of their computer screens and done draft after draft after draft but still the project has failed to move forward. There was some interest from Dwayne Johnson in playing Black Adam, the main adversary to the Shazam! hero Captain Marvel, but that still wasn't enough to do the deed.

But Warners isn't giving up. A while back a decision was made to enlist the help of a trifecta of superstar DC Comics writers -- Grant Morrison, Geoff Johns and Marv Wolfman -- to serve as a creative think tank. Each of the three comic book writers would become a shepherd for one particular DC Comics property that was in the process of being adapted into a Warner Bros. feature film, acting as a gatekeeper to make sure that the film types working on the movie's development understood the nuances of that character and also to help spitball ideas that would make for the best superhero movie. Now we're starting to see the early results WB's new direction of thought with their superhero properties.

Getting back to the troubled Shazam! property, Warner Bros. has hired Bill Birch to write a new screenplay. Geoff Johns is the consultant on the Shazam! movie and he will co-write the story with Birch as well as act as a co-producer on the film.

Birch started off his Hollywood career as an actor. He's made guest appearances on shows such as the original Beverly Hills, 90210 to CSI: Miami, Grey's Anatomy and The Unit but there's nothing of his that he's written that has gone into production so far.

Peter Segal (Get Smart, The Longest Yard) has been attached to direct Shazam! for years and it looks like he's still commited to getting the job done one day.

The Shazam! movie will likely chronicle the origin of the superhero. After speaking aloud the word "Shazam," the elder Greek gods grant young lad Billy Batson the power to transform himself into a magically-powered superhero called Captain Marvel who possesses the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Aries, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles and the speed of Mercury. While Captain Marvel doesn't have as high a profile as heroes like Batman, Superman or The Flash, the character is considered one of the powerhouses of DC's universe and often plays a part in the higher profile crossover events between DC titles like Final Crisis or 52.

-The Hollywood Reporter.

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