Sunday, July 23, 2017

Geoff Johns Confirms Black Adam will not be in SHAZAM! REAL NEWS! (Part 3)

This is the third part of the three-part blog update based on the news of the past few days.

When last we left our story, we had mentioned that Dwayne Johnson (the actor whose pro wrestling persona is known as "The Rock") had referred to the hero in the upcoming DC movie "Shazam!" as "Captain Marvel." Whether this was a slip of the tongue, as DC may be using the New 52 version of the character, whose name is "Shazam," as the hero, or a reveal that the hero will be some version of the original Captain Marvel, is still undetermined, and was not the point of the comment. The point was that the plan for what had originally been announced (Johnson appearing as Black Adam in "Shazam!") had been changed:

"What we decided to do was to create a scenario where Black Adam has his stand-alone movie, and Captain Marvel, Shazam, has his stand-alone movie," he told MTV. "We're building our world that way, and then we can come together at some point."

So that was back in April. Of course, the Interwebs being what they are, what this exactly meant had swirled around, so apparently someone had to get the situation clarified. Thus, it should not be a surprise that just a couple of days ago, CinemaBlend posted an article titled "DC Sets the Record Straight on The Rock Appearing in Shazam." In this article they posted the following quotation:

"We haven't announced any casting yet. But Dwayne isn't going to be in this movie. He's still doing Black Adam, but he won't be in Shazam!"

This was from an interview on Yahoo movies earlier that day. Interestingly, this article is weighing in that the hero in the movie will be named "Shazam."

Reasons for this have been stated to include things about Johnson' schedule and so forth, which is reasonable, considering how freakin' busy the guy is. But what this also means is that what could have been potentially the biggest attraction of the "Shazam!" movie is now not a part of it. Consipiracy theorists could easily rave that this is another way of DC screwing over the character. Neither Dr. Sivana nor Mr. Mind, Captain Marvel's two other archest enemies, may not carry the same degree of gravitas into a movie. They certainly would not be able to put up the same kind of physical challenge (barring the introduction of a juiced-up Magnificus Sivana or Mr. Mind commanding Mr. Atom against the World's Mightiest Mortal). Perhaps we could say that the announcement and all the business towards the production of a "Shazam!" movie was just a ploy to lure Johnson to be in a DC movie, and now that he is not going to be in "Shazam!" the big-screen dreams of the Big Red Cheese will go the way of the previous versions of the movie that died in pre-production hell in the '00's

We will see...

So to wrap up the news for the week (much of which happens to be coming out of San Diego Comic Con):

The DC movie "Shazam!" has been announced to start filming in February 2018.

David F. Sandberg has been announced to direct it.

Dwayne Johnson's portrayal of the character Black Adam has been announced to not be in it.

Digest and comment, folks!

PS: Here is a bonus link to Hollywood Reporter's "exclusive" announcement of all this news, complete with an exciting video!

Saturday, July 22, 2017

SHAZAM! Director Announced! REAL NEWS!

Part two of a three-part post series.

This is not a full-service "clickbait roundup," but in my research I could not avoid finding a few articles and posts about the news and thus are linking them in the body of this post. I hate the Interwebs.

In my previous post, I talked about the apparent news from four days ago of the start date of DC's "Shazam!" movie and how it relates to Marvel's "Captain Marvel" movie. This post is about the announcement the day after that of the director announced for "Shazam!"

Comparisons between the "Shazam!" and "Captain Marvel" movie projects are inevitable on this blog for several reasons. For one thing "Shazam" is the trademark by which DC markets the original superhero named Captain Marvel and his several reboots and reinterpretations under their watch. For another, these movies were announced and are scheduled to be released at about the same time. Finally, of course, this blog is about all those superheroes that have gone by the name of "Captain Marvel."

So now, about a month or so after Marvel announced that Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck will be directing their "Captain Marvel," DC has announced that David F. Sandberg will be directing "Shazam!"

I had never heard of this guy before, but that proves nothing, so after I saw the this news on CinemaBlend , I decided to look up this guy a little bit. IMDB shows that apparently he has directed a bunch of shorts and documentaries and a couple of horror features, has also served as writer, producer, cinematographer, composer, and even actor on a bunch of those projects. Wikipedia describes him as a "freelance animator and maker of documentary and short films" before his breakout film, "Lights Out," which was a short from 2013 that became a feature in 2016. Now he is going to be directing a big superhero movie.

The most notable example of someone with a limited resume being given a big genre project somewhat outside of his previous experience that comes to my mind is David Lynch with his version of Frank Herbert's "Dune." David Lynch is a very deliberate director who had displayed a "quirky" sense of filmmaking, but he had never done a movie with more than a half-dozen people and more that a half-dozen dollars before, and it showed. Though the movie was moody and visually arresting, the battle scenes were awkward, the acting was uneven, the script was confusing (especially after the movie had been edited down by the studio for a shorter running time), and had an ending payoff that was different from the book, with a result that would have made continuation of the series impossible. It really seemed like Lynch's brilliant previous efforts, "Eraserhead" and "The Elephant Man," had ill-prepared him for a sprawling, quasi-mystical, stellar-political epic (I personally thought that David Lean would have been a good choice, not just because he had directed a great epic film in a desert but because he understood how to make sprawling, geopolitical epics).

However, I have zero familiarity with Sandberg's work, so I am going to have to spend some time watching his films to pass a preliminary judgement on the wisdom of this decision. He has his own website with a lot of videos, so that seems like a good place to start. Maybe there is something about his visual style, his sense of humor, his understanding of children, his sense of wonder, or some other characteristic that I imagine should be a part of a "Shazam!" movie that makes him ideally suited for the job.

For his part, he has made a few statements in public about this. Heroic Hollywood shared his announcement confirming his assignment. In this announcement, Sandberg said nothing disappointing or even surprising at all:

“I’m very happy to say that is true and it’s really awesome. I’m really looking forward to it.”
“Yeah, just because it’s the ultimate wish fulfillment, you know? Every kid wants to be Superman and here’s the kid who gets the chance to be Superman and, you know, finds out that it could also be a challenge.”
“I definitely plan on doing more horror […] but it’ll be fun to try something that’s a little bit different.”

Apparently, he also chats on Reddit, and ComicBookMovie dutifully reported that he said essentially the same thing all over again.

"To keep it general and not go into script details I'd say the core thing that's appealing to me is the wish fulfillment," said Sandberg. "What kid doesn't want to be Superman? This is a kid that basically gets to become Superman."

...and in searching for more of what he has said on Reddit, I found a San Diego Comic Con interview with him. I am going to have to watch that and comment on it later.

One thing I have noticed, though, is how it still seems uncertain whether the hero is going to be named "Shazam." The CinemaBlend article referenced above says, parenthetically, that "
the hero was known as Captain Marvel before the New 52 relaunch." On the DCEU Reddit board, the "Shazam!" movie is illustrated by a picture of the New 52 character.

On the other hand, on IMDB, in a description written by "Hellfreezer," it says "he is the holder of the power of S.H.A.Z.A.M; he is Captain Marvel." In an interview with Kevin Smith for IMDB posted on BleedingCool, when Smith asks if Sandberg if he is doing any comic book movies soon, Sandberg relpied "Shazam." Smith exclaims "Captain Marvel?" and Sandberg answers, "yes." Then, of course, in Den of Geek's article about the Sandberg announcement, Dwayne Johnson is quoted as saying:

"What we decided to do was to create a scenario where Black Adam has his stand-alone movie, and Captain Marvel, Shazam, has his stand-alone movie," he told MTV. "We're building our world that way, and then we can come together at some point."

Wait, what? Is there more real news? Stay tuned...

NEXT: The Rock lays down the news!

If you want to see David F. Sandberg's previous work...

Friday, July 21, 2017

SHAZAM! Shooting Dates! Yes, REAL NEWS!

In that hazy realm in which Clickbait resides, somewhere between news, rumor, speculations, wishful thinking, and misinterpretation based on wishful thinking after a rumor gets started based on a scrap of news, lay the fate of DC's "Shazam!" movie. All that was certain, for the longest time, was that Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson would play Black Adam in this movie. This was announced way back in 2014. But after several scripts and directors had be lined up in the stillborn attempt at producing this movie in the previous decade, there seemed to be no further developments for this one now.

My previous posts have reported on things that may or may not have been baseless rumors or legitimate news, but today I am just too busy to go on my traditional "clickbait roundup" to find all the angles on all the elements of the story that have broken in the last few days.

We will start with the report from Cinema Blend three days ago that the "Shazam!" movie has a production start date. This date would be in February of 2017, putting it in line with the start date for Marvel's "Captain Marvel" movie.

In case you just started reading comics and following them on the Interwebs four days ago, the reason we are tracking these two movies here on "Captain Marvel Culture" is because "Shazam!" (complete with exclamation point) is the trademark by which DC markets their character known as Captain Marvel. This character was originally produced by Fawcett Publications in comic books dated from 1940-1953. The reasons for his demise are too complex to get into here, but twenty years later DC licensed the character from Fawcett. Marvel, in the meantime, had created their own Captain Marvel (again: long story) and trademarked the name, so DC had to come up with something different. Since the source of Captain Marvel's power's were the magic word "Shazam!" it was decided to make that the title of the comic book, and it has been the trademark by which DC has marketed the character. He was still called "Captain Marvel" inside the books and on the TV shows and in the View-Master Slides, but never on a cover or box. This led to confusion. finally DC, who had fully acquired the rights to the character in 1991, re-interpreted him for their "New 52" reboot of their entire universe, and that character is named "Shazam," ending the confusion...not really. It just led to more confusion.

But confusion aside, Marvel had scheduled their "Captain Marvel" movie for a release date slightly before DC's "Shazam!" Could that have been so that their "captain Marvel hero would hit the big screen before DC's Captain Marvel? Conspiracy theorists have had fun with this. In fact, there are theories, rumors, speculation, and other claptrap about Marvel finally "winning the rights" to the name for DC or something, or there being some sort of deal whereby DC agreed never to use the name "Captain Marvel" again...

...but I am not buying most of it. Marvel can be perfectly justified in protecting their copyright by making sure there is always a Captain Marvel in the MCU, and DC can decide to finally create a superhero with the same name as the title of his comic book without there having been some sort of apocalyptic "deal" or anyone doing anything underhandedly competitive. It's all just business-oriented decisions, for better or worse.

for the Record, right now, as it stands, Marvel's "Captain Marvel" is scheduled to start shooting in February of 2018, and be released on March 8, 2019, and DC's "Shazam!" is said to be starting production in February 2018 for an April 5, 2019 release.

Next: SHAZAM! A Director is Chosen!