Screenwriter John August declared the Shazam feature film completely dead in January 2009, unable to come up with a screenplay that seemed to satisfy Warner Bros. "By "dead," I mean that it won't be happening. I don't think it's on the studio's radar at all, " August stated in a blog post.
I'm happy to report that John August was wrong. Shazam is most definitely on Warner Bros radar, and they've tasked DC Comics scribe Geoff Johns and rookie screenwriter Bill Birch with a new version of the script. Birch spoke to CineFOOLS about the project, "The way the story is shaking out, Geoff and I see this not as 'dark' as Dark Knight but definitely as cool...Tonally, I think it's important to successfully find the balance of comedy and danger in the story. That's a major aspect I'm focusing on. Frankly, hitting the right tone is what's going to either get this made or keep it in development hell."
Shazam is the story of Billy Batson, an orphaned boy who can transform into the adult body of the god-like Captain Marvel with the magic word "Shazam". Peter Segal, who has been circling this project since 2006, once compared Shazam to the Tom Hanks comedy Big, but with a high-adventure superhero twist (in an interview with MTV). That's a good pitch, and I hope they don't lose sight of how downright fun the world of Captain Marvel can be.
Birch jokes about Peter Segal bringing Adam Sandler onboard to play Captain Marvel, but I'm not joking when I say John Hamm should be on Warner Bros.' short list to bring this character to life on the big screen. The DC Comics character was the first superhero to ever get a live-action adaptation, starring in his own serial in 1941, and was brought to life again in a popular 1970's Saturday morning television series from Filmation.