By Danielle Broadway and Rollo Ross
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Helen Mirren, the Oscar winning actor for “The Queen,” wasn’t exactly a fan of superhero films, but then she saw “Shazam!” and felt a connection.
“I loved the first “Shazam!” movie and it was one of the few superhero-ey type movies that I’d seen, and I loved it,” Mirren told Reuters. “It was funny, it was charming, but it had this real heart to it.”
So when she was offered a role as the bold antagonist Hespera in the sequel “Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” Mirren was more than happy to sign up.
“Shazam! Fury of the Gods,” the 12th installment of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), arrives in movie theaters on Friday, and brings back actor Zachary Levi in the role of Shazam, the adult superhero alter ego of foster youth, Billy Batson.
The sequel is the first DCEU film since filmmaker James Gunn was named co-head of Warner Bros Discovery and announced the new DC slate.
“It’s something that everyone in the whole family gets to enjoy together – maybe not the littlest of kids, it can get a little gnarly and dark and creatures and monsters and some death and stuff,” said Levi.
The 2019 “Shazam!” introduces a foster youth named Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel, as he’s assigned to a new foster family and suddenly granted superpowers from a wizard making him, and eventually his foster siblings, adult superheroes.
This time around, Billy and his foster siblings must battle the Daughters of Atlas, who are based on mythological Greek goddesses and are on a quest for the magic powers stolen from them.
Joining Mirren in the goddess trio are “Charlie’s Angels” actor Lucy Liu as Kalypso and “West Side Story” star Rachel Zegler as Anthea.
“Your protagonist is only as good as the antagonist,” Liu said. “You want them to be strong and have a foundation and a spine that is going to match up, if not better, because that makes the story that much stronger.”
(Reporting by Danielle Broadway and Rollo Ross; Editing by Mary Milliken and Aurora Ellis)