Zachary Levi on Becoming a ‘Refreshing’ DC Hero in ‘Shazam’ and a Possible Cameo by Gal Gadot (Exclusive)
By Jennifer Drysdale
Zachary Levi is living his dream.
The 37-year-old actor has become beloved by fans throughout his nearly two decades in Hollywood with roles like Chuck Bartowski on Chuck and Flynn Rider in Tangled, but it’s only recently that he’s reached a point in his career where he feels he’s really made it.
“This business is a really gnarly one, and you put yourself out there and work hard, and a lot of times, that's not enough,” he told ET over the phone on Friday, while promoting the season finale of Tangled: The Series. “You know, you have these moments that kind of are blessings or luck, or whatever you want to call it, that kind of drop into your lap, and all of a sudden, your entire life changes. And I feel like this is that.”
Levi -- fresh off the success of Tangled: The Series, which was renewed for season two nearly a year ago, before the premiere of its first season -- is referring to his latest role as the titular character in DC’s Shazam!, which he’s currently filming in Toronto.
“When this movie comes out in April of 2019, that will be 20 years to the month that I started auditioning in Hollywood, and that's a really crazy thing to reflect on,” he shared. “So, it's all very humbling, and the script is great and the cast is great and I love our director, David F. Sandberg.”
Shazam!, of course, follows Billy Batson, a boy who can transform into an adult superhero by uttering “Shazam,” an acronym of the ancient gods from which he derives his powers in adult form. Levi’s signature enthusiasm made him the perfect choice for the role when his casting was announced in October. Three months later, it’s clear he hasn’t lost it.
“I can't tell you much, as you can probably imagine, but what I can say is I am just out of my mind excited!” Levi expressed. “I get to do my version of Big, basically. It’s like Superman meets Big, and that’s just so fun.”
“I get to be a superhero that’s excited about being a superhero, and I think that’s refreshing,” he continued. “It’s not glum, and like, ‘Oh, I have to save the world again.' So I think it’s all really gravy.”
As for which DC hero he’d like to see make a cameo in his movie, that answer couldn’t have come easier: “Wonder Woman, because she's awesome.”
“I think getting a cameo from anybody would be super cool, but I just think Gal Gadot is so effervescent. She has such a charm. And she seems like a really cool broad. Like, she was in the Israeli army. She's a mom. And I'm like, 'You seem like you're grounded and cool, and you're Wonder Woman, and you rock,’” Levi exclaimed. “And I think it would be really funny to have the 14-year-old Billy Batson inside of Shazam that's really awkward around this beautiful Amazonian. I just think that would be really awesome.”
For now, Levi is focusing on Tangled, which he describes as “the gift that keeps on giving.”
“Being a huge Disney fan, and then getting cast as a Disney prince in a musical where I get to sing Alan Menken music opposite Mandy Moore, and then the movie does well, and it's the 50th film, and then we sing at the Oscars. The whole thing was so crazy, and then out of nowhere, Mandy and I get a call saying, 'Hey, we want to turn it into a series.' And now we just get to go have fun, like, on a regular basis and bring these characters to life and give them so much more depth,” he explained. “It’s so surreal.”
“[We’re] getting into the intricacies of Flynn and Rapunzel, and this season comes full circle with her starting in a place where she's feeling trapped and being told what to do as a princess, and now she's like her own woman,” Levi described. “And she and Flynn have gone through their ups and downs and learning to trust one another and rely on one another.”
“It's still something that kids watch and love, but adults can still watch and love it too, and there's great lessons to be learned from it,” he shared. “It's a really awesome, awesome thing to be a part of."
The season finale of Tangled: The Series airs Saturday, Jan. 13, at 8 a.m. on Disney Channel.