After months of endless teasing and hinting, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has finally revealed his role in Warner Brothers’ upcoming (and still unannounced) Shazam movie. He won’t play the titular hero as many of us believed, but will instead play his arch-nemesis, Black Adam. This is exceptional casting and I have no doubt that Johnson’s charisma, screen presence, and hulking physique will aid him in becoming a great villain and memorable villain. He also hinted that Black Adam will be a bit of an anti-hero, as the character is in the New 52 relaunch, so my guess is he’ll have plenty of screentime to play around with.
This is a Shazam movie though, so Johnson’s announcement came with one giant question mark: Who will play Shazam?!
Whoever lands the title role will need to meet a few criteria. First of all, he’s got to be in enough physical shape to face off with The Rock. That’s no easy task, and while there are few actors out there that match the former wrestler’s massive physique, there are definitely some who come close or could put up a believable fight (too bad Vin Diesel’s over at Marvel, eh?)
Secondly, the actor needs to portray the fun, adventurous side of the character. Shazam is the alter-ego of young boy Billy Batson, who transforms into an adult superhero after saying the magic word, “Shazam!” Even as Shazam, Billy Batson’s young personality needs to shine through. The entire idea of this film (and the performance that comes with it) needs to be, “Have you ever dreamed of becoming Superman?” because that’s exactly what Batson’s story is. He’s a kid who gets the chance to turn into a superhero and defeat bad guys. That’s awesome, and leaves plenty of room for a fun, wildly entertaining film.
There are plenty of actors to choose from that meet this criteria, but here are 5 actors I think would be great for the job:
5. Brandon Molale
Actor and stuntman Brandon Molale is simply perfect for Shazam, and has been in contention for the role ever since the film was announced a few years back. He’s big, he’s charismatic, and he’s incredibly interested in playing the part. Plus, he looks just like him!
4. Bruce Campbell
Okay, this would never happen in a million years, but who better to bring Shazam’s wild, fun, charismatic, and hilarious side to life on the big screen than Bruce freakin’ Campbell? No one, that’s who.
3. Daniel Cudmore
It’s a shame that Daniel Cudmore is wasting his time with playing Colossus in Fox’s X-Men franchise, because he’d be a great fit for Shazam. It could happen though, as we’ve seen actors jump from one studio’s comic book franchise to the next. Ben Affleck went from playing Daredevil to Batman, Josh Brolin has played Jonah Hex, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For‘s Dwight, and Thanos, while Chris Evans went from playing Johnny Storm in Fantastic Four to suiting up as Captain America for Marvel. It’s not like he’s getting much screentime in X-Men anyway, so why not hop over to DC and be the star?
2. Patrick Warburton
Yes, that Patrick Warburton. Much like Bruce Campbell, he’s a longshot but would fit the role perfectly. He oozes charisma, has the comedic chops for the role, and is not someone you’d want to engage in fisticuffs with. Plus, he fits Shazam’s nickname of “The Big Red Cheese” perfectly, don’t you think?
1. Wes Bentley
Wes Bentley (The Hunger Games) may not be as big as someone like Brandon Molale, but that’s why they invented Hollywood trainers. If they can put enough muscle on Gal Gadot to play Wonder Woman, they can easily help Bentley pack on a bit of muscle. Just look at how gigantic both Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill have gotten for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Bentley looks the part, he’s a good actor, and he’s the kind of leading man that could stick around the DCCU for a while and hold his own on screen with Affleck, Cavill, Gadot, and yes, Johnson.
What do you think of this list? Who would you like to see play Shazam? Let me know in the comments!