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...