Saturday, November 6, 2010

Shazam manifesto and casting suggestions.


I want the upcoming SHAZAM movie made correctly. I unquestionably do not want it to be a campy comedy, but to be sure, the definitive Captain Marvel movie must have a lot of humor and fun. But it also must be balanced out with drama and pathos and action-adventure. Needless to say, it should have breath taking special effects, and be filmed in IMAX. I would like to see the film use tilted camera angles, much like celebrated film maker Orson Welles pioneered, to give it a unique look. The final shooting script should not be based on the current DC comics, with its pale, inferior version of Captain Marvel. It is the Fawcett Captain Marvel of the 1940s and 50s which should be the source material for the film (as producer Michael Uslan once promised). When Otto Binder and C.C. Beck hit thier stride, they produced some of the greatest superhero adventures of all time, certainly superior to DC's recent attempts at Shazam.
Peter Segal, slated to direct the film, had once said in interviews his take would be like "Big" with superpowers. References to "Big" are all wrong, because Captain Marvel is NOT a 12 year old with a super powered adult body. Some experts have suggested Billy and Cap may be the same person, but at different points of thier time line. Either way, Cap should not act like a 12 year old. He has the wisdom of Solomon, which should make him more mature and less headstrong than Billy. Under no circumstances do I want to see a scene where Captain Marvel learns how to be a superhero by reading Superman comic books. Such a scene would instantly damn this movie to hell.
As in the Fawcett comics, Billy should be the star of the movie. Its his adventures we follow. Yet there still must be a lot of screen time and action sequences for Captain Marvel.  I speculate the creators of Captain Marvel had the Old Testament book of Tobit in mind as a muse. In it, the mighty archangel Saint Raphael takes the form of a teen, Azariah, while among mortals. I suggest all Captain Marvel fans read this book. If you don't have a Bible with the deuterocanonical books, here is a link for Tobit .
Mary and Freddy should be supporting characters the film, but they should not get thier powers until the sequels.

The film makers need to get Alex Ross to be the movie's creative consultant. He is the only one at DC who really "gets" the Big Red Cheese. The film should use Ross' version of Captain Marvel's uniform, but it should not be skintight spandex or muscle enhancing rubber. The model of Tom Tyler's costume from the serial should be used, where the top is more of a jacket, and the pants, while snug, are not actual tights.
Perhaps the most infamous Captain Marvel fan was/is Elvis Presley. The definitive Captain Marvel movie must have an Elvis soundtrack. "If I Can Dream" would be a perfect theme song. Many of his underappreciated 60s tracks would fit the film perfectly, like "Long Legged Girl" for Beautia, "What A Wonderful Life" for Billy, "That's Someone You'll Never Forget" for Billy's crush on Beautia, "Kiss Me Quick" for Beautia's longing for Captain Marvel, etc. As for the instrumental musical score, Michael Nesmith ("Elephant Parts" and "Time Rider") should compose it. Brian Setzer would be a good second choice (or maybe Nesmith and Setzer could collaborate on the score). Perhaps Duane Eddy's hit instrumental "Shazam" could be incorporated into the score.

Here is my casting suggestions wish list:
Captain Marvel - preferably an unknown culled from daytime soaps or the stage. A good choice was Brandon Molale, but Warner Brothers has dragged thier feet so long, he is getting too old for the part. The actor playing Captain Marvel should be between 25 and 30 years old.
Shazam - Omar Sharif or possibly Michael Keaton.
Dr Sivana - Joe Pesci or Ben Kingsley or possibly Martin Short.
Beautia - Katheryn Winnick or Kelly Carlson.
Black Adam - Oded Fehr  (I know Dwayne Johnson is a fan favorite, but I prefer if no wrestlers or reality stars were cast).
Uncle Dudley - his royal majesty Micky Dolenz (this is my #1 casting pick!).
Sterling Morris - Jon Voight, Dan Aykroyd, or Martin Mull.
Joan Jameson - Maggie Lawson, Marnette Patterson or Sarah Chalke.
Nick Bromfield - Tom Selleck.
Nora Bromfield - Catherine Hicks, Melissa Sue Anderson, or Bonnie Hunt.
Nanny Primm - Carol Burnett or Cloris Leachman.
Whitey Murphy - Jason Dolley or Sterling Knight.
Mr Tawny - Jim Belushi.
Freddy's Grandpa - Alan Alda.
Ebenezer Batson - Bob Newhart, Tim Conway, or possibly Don Rickles.
As for the pivitol roles of Billy Batson, Freddy Freeman, and Mary Bromfield (Batson), as well as Cissy Sommerly, since the characters are around 12 years old, and since filming is still a few years away, it is impossible to speculate who would be good choices (although I will say Kay Panabaker would make a great Mary. Also, Ryan Whitney Newman is someone to watch. She may be perfect for the role in another year). All I can suggest is when casting begins, look for four 12 year olds who are talented and resemble C.C. Beck's drawings.
If you agree with me, voice your support to Warner Brothers, 4000 Warner Blvd., Burbank CA 91522, and DC Comics, 1700 Broadway, New York NY 10019.

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