New Line is working to secure director David F. Sandberg for the Shazam! film, according to The Wrap.
Sandberg is an interesting choice to helm the DC Comics superhero tale, as he has previously worked in horror films. He first gained Hollywood’s attention with his horror shorts.
Sandberg developed one of those shorts, Lights Out, into a 2016 feature film with New Line. He is currently directing the sequel to 2014’s Annabelle, which is due out August 11th of this year.
Shazam! focuses on the character of Billy Batson, a young boy who can transform himself into a superhero by saying the magic word “Shazam”.
The film was expected to have Dwayne Johnson play the villainous Black Adam, although the decision was recently made to spin that character into his own film.
If the deal goes through, Sandberg won’t be the first director to transition from horror to action and superheroes. Scott Derrickson recently did the same for Marvel’s Doctor Strange. DC’s own James Wan is preparing to film 2018’s Aquaman, after previously directing Furious 7.
While the deal is still in the talks stage, New Line clearly has confidence in Sandberg’s ability to handle a larger budget film. He turned Lights Out into a massive hit, grossing more than $149 at the worldwide box office on a budget of less than $5 million.
DC Films co-head Geoff Johns is likely to have a strong influence on the Shazam! film. Prior to being promoted to head of DC Films, Johns was developing a Shazam! script of his own, as far back as 2009. Johns would later go on to reboot the character in comics as part of DC’s New 52 continuity.
The character of Shazam is one of the oldest superheroes around. He was first introduced as Captain Marvel by Fawcett Comics in 1939. He joined the DC Comics universe in 1972. Since then he has appeared in a variety of his own comics as well as team-ups with the Justice League and Justice Society of America.
Outside of comic books, Shazam has appeared in various media. The character starred in CBS’ Shazam! TV series from 1974-1977 and has had roles in a variety of DC animated movies and television series.
Shazam! is schedule to release April 5, 2019.