Not all comic book adaptations make it smoothly to screen, in fact the long in-development Captain Marvel film “Shazam!” has just officially died on the vine according to scribe John August.
In his latest blog entry, August said a perfect storm of the writer’s strike, New Line absorption, and studio executives getting mixed messages all combined to essentially kill the project before it took off.
“When we turned the new draft in to the studio, we got a reaction that made me wonder if anyone at Warners had actually read previous drafts or the associated notes. The studio felt the movie played too young. They wanted edgier. They wanted Billy to be older. They wanted Black Adam to appear much earlier. (I pointed out that Black Adam appears on page one, but never got a response)”
So why the change? August places the blame on the studio’s Summer line-up with the failure of “Speed Racer” and the success of “The Dark Knight”. “The first flopped; the second triumphed. Given only those two examples, one can understand why a studio might wish for their movies to be more like the latter. But to do so ignores the success of Iron Man, which spent most of its running time as a comedic origin story, and the even more pertinent example of WB’s own Harry Potter series. I tried to make this case, to no avail” says August.
As recently as November the studio issues a press release saying “Shazam!” was still set to go with “Get Smart” director Peter Segal helming. Though not official, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was set to play the villain Black Adam.