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Zachary Levi To Star In Shazam!

THR is reporting Zachary Levi is going to be Earth's mightiest mortal.

The actor will star in the DC comic book adaptation Shazam!, which follows a boy named Billy Batson, who can transform into an adult superhero by uttering the magic word "Shazam!" The name is an acronym of the ancient world gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, from which the big Batson derives his heroic attributes when in adult form.

David F. Sandberg is directing Shazam! for New Line. The studio is high on Sandberg and sees him as a homegrown talent after putting out his first feature Lights Out in 2016, and releasing the director's Annabelle: Creation, the latest installment of The Conjuring universe. The $15 million horror sequel has earned a big $303 million worldwide since opening in August.

Sandberg is directing Shazam! from a screenplay by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke. Annabelle: Creation producer Peter Safran is reuniting with Sandberg for the film, and is also producing DC's Aquaman for Warner Bros.

This is a big move for New Line and Levi, who is known for comedic roles, and starred in NBC's hit spy-comedy series Chuck from 2007-2012. He also has superhero credentials and can be seen next week in Marvel Studios' Thor: Ragnarok as Fandral, one of Thor's companions. He also recently appeared in NBC's Heroes Reborn and the network's Eva Longoria comedy Telenovela.

Other actors in the mix for the role in the last few months have included John Cena, who met with the director, and more recently Derek Theler (star of ABC Family's Baby Daddy), Zane Holtz (From Dusk Til Dawn: The Series), Billy Magnussen, and Jake McDorman, the star of TV's Limitless.

Heat Vision first reported in July that Shazam! will be the next DC Cinematic Universe movie to film, ahead of the Flashpoint, Joss Whedon's Batgirl and the Suicide Squad sequel, which recently attached Accountant director Gavin O’Connor. No release date for Shazam! is set but New Line is eying a February 2018 start in Toronto.

The film is being developed concurrently with a film focusing on Shazam villain Black Adam to star Dwayne Johnson.

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