Last week came news that arguably one of history’s silliest comic book heroes was heading to the screen (and no, it’s not a remake of that Shaquille O’Neal genie movie). Now it seems Jake Gyllenhaal is being tapped to play the red suited, cape-wearing boy-turned-superhero Shazam!
According to Rush & Molloy, Gyllenhaal is New Line’s top pick to play the role of Captain Marvel, known popularly as Shazam after the magical word that transforms him into a superbeing. Peter Segal ("The Longest Yard") is at the helm, with a script being written by frequent Tim Burton scripter John August ("Big Fish," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," "Go").
Gyllenhaal in "Jarhead"
The DC Comics character is a holdover to the golden age of comics, when the unabashedly Superman-like Captain Marvel was one of the highest-selling series in all the land. The lore centers on a 13-year-old boy/radio reporter named Billy Batson who, given superpowers by a wizard, can transform into the adult Captain Marvel by saying the word "Shazam!" Much like Superman, Marvel is invulnerable, super strong, and super fast; unlike Superman, Marvel uses lightning bolts, doesn’t have X-Ray vision, and, if played by Gyllenhaal, may look more like a rumpled hangdog than a hunky man of steel.
Remember "Bubble Boy?" Yeah, me too…
The goss-slingers at Rush & Molloy speculate that New Line’s itching to get Gyllenhaal locked in fast before "Spider-Man 4"’s casting agents come calling to offer up Tobey Maguire‘s spot in any upcoming sequels. Citing an "insider" informant, they also share that New Line hopes the "Shazam!" flick will kick start a blockbuster superhero franchise in the vein of recent moneymakers like "Batman Begins," and that the studio might be willing to put $200 million on the line to make it happen.