After years of development, Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema’s Shazam movie was finally confirmed to be moving forward this year. The DC adaptation will be written by Turbo scribe Darren Lemke, with wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne Johnson set to play villain/antihero Black Adam, a casting move that he and the fans have wanted for a long time. It’s currently unclear whether this film will be its own thing or a part of the DC Cinematic Universe, but don’t be surprised if they integrate Shazam into the world of Justice League eventually. The Rock’s passion for this project has been evident for years, and even though he isn’t playing the lead role, he will still be a huge draw for this superhero tale. The next big question, however, is who will be playing Shazam himself, formerly named Captain Marvel. This iconic character requires an actor who possessed considerable charisma and physicality to rival Johnson’s Black Adam, and he must be able to pull off the role of a truly fun and likable hero. Below, I’ve listed five actors who should be considered to play Shazam in his big screen debut.
#5 – Matt Bomer
Fans have wanted to see Bomer in a comic book role for years, and it’s not hard to see why. From his charming looks to his acting chops, he is an obvious choice for a superhero role, making the fact that he has yet to land one surprising. Bomer came close to playing the Man of Steel in a Brett Ratner-directed Superman movie years back, and fans have suggested him for roles such as Batman and Nightwing. So why not Shazam? Bomer looks similar to the comic version of Billy Batson, and the Big Red Cheese is often compared to Superman – a role the White Collar star later voiced in the animated movie Superman: Unbound. So, while this casting idea isn’t a shocker, it’s certainly one worth looking into.
#4 – James Marsden
Marsden certainly has experience in the superhero movie genre. In addition to playing Richard White in 2006’s Superman Returns, he is best known for playing Cyclops in four of the seven X-Men films. However, I’d love to see him move onto a role such as Shazam. Marsden’s Cyclops was inarguably underused in the X-Men franchise, and an actor like him would be better off with a more substantial comic book role. Not to mention, he certainly has the charisma to pull off a likable character such as Shazam. The only downside is the fact that he doesn’t have a physicality that can rival Dwayne Johnson, but a rigorous workout regime could resolve that. Also, at age 41, it wouldn’t be surprising if Warner Bros. passed over Marsden and expressed interest in casting a slightly younger actor for a superhero role as key as Shazam.
#3 – Armie Hammer
Hammer came close to playing Batman in the now defunct Justice League: Mortal movie, and there has been much talk of him making another attempt to portray a superhero. Tall and handsome, Hammer has both the presence, likability and acting abilities to pull off Shazam. The fact that he is co-starring with Man of Steel‘s Henry Cavill in next year’s The Man From U.N.C.L.E. certainly doesn’t hurt his chances. However, one big potential setback would be his last major movie, The Lone Ranger. That film, which starred Hammer as the titular character, was a critical and commercial bomb. That can absolutely make studios doubt in Hammer’s capability of leading a successful blockbuster. Despite this, there’s no denying that the actor can do a great job playing Shazam.
#2 – Joe Manganiello
After playing Flash Thompson in two of Sam Raimi’s three Spider-Man films, Manganiello has shown interest in landing a bigger role in the comic book movie genre. He came pretty close to playing Superman in Man of Steel before Henry Cavill landed that role, while he was also reportedly up for the part of Batman in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before Ben Affleck was cast. So, there’s clearly interest in casting Manganiello as a DC character. Why not Shazam? Manganiello absolutely has the physicality to pull off this role (or any superhero role), and he can provide the necessary charm and look of the former Captain Marvel. Also, with True Blood finished, his schedule is much more open for a demanding movie role. I can definitely see Manganiello at least being considered for Shazam for all of these reasons. Additionally, the actor has expressed interest in doing a superhero film that stands out from the norm, and Shazam has the potential to do just that.
#1 – Daniel Cudmore
And now, we have my top choice for the role of Shazam. Cudmore also has comic book movie experience, having played Colossus in three X-Men films. However, like James Marsden’s Cyclops, Cudmore’s metallic mutant has been sorely underused in the ensemble franchise, and again, it would make sense for the actor to move on to a much bigger role. Cudmore has shared his interest in playing Shazam, and a lot of fans agree. It’s hard not to see why; again, the actor has the physicality, looks and charisma to pull off this role. While it’s unlikely that Cudmore’s Colossus will play a big role in future X-Men movies (if any role at all), the door is potentially open for him to switch over to DC to play a far more iconic character.
Who would you like to see play Shazam on the big screen?