In a recent interview with The Fourth Wall podcast, Zachary Levi discussed how his failed audition for the part of Star-Lord in Guardians of the Galaxy ultimately paved the way for him to get the lead role in DC Comics’ Shazam!.
“James [Gunn] and I knew each other, we were friends, we would have game nights at each other’s homes, had a lot of mutual friends,” Levi said. “And so he had asked me to come in and read for Star-Lord, and I did, and then that led to the next step, and then all of a sudden I was camera testing.”
Levi continued, “Oh man, I wanted that role so bad, like so, so, so, so bad. It came down to me, one other guy, and Chris Pratt, but Chris was always their favorite and he was hesitant to take it, which is understandable, I mean it’s a big franchise thing, it’s Marvel, does it work out, does it not work out? Is this what everyone is going to know me as for the rest of my life? All of those things that go through your head.”
Despite losing out to Pratt, Levi believes that his audition was enough for Gunn to consider him for the starring role in 2019’s Shazam!.
“But eventually, and I think smartly, [Pratt] decided to take the job and so it didn’t go my way or anyone else’s way for that matter, but I hoped I left enough of a good impression with James that when I was auditioning for ‘Shazam,’ and his very dear friend, and manager, and sometimes producing partner, Peter Safran, calls up James because this is how our industry works,” Levi said.
Levi added, “Fortunately, I was in good standing with James, I try to be in good standing with as many people as I can be and try to be a decent person, and I think between that and how well James thought I did in the Star-Lord test, he said, ‘Yeah man, you really should give Zach an opportunity at this. I really think he could be great.’”
Levi is set to reprise his role as Shazam in the 2023 sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, which is scheduled to hit theaters on June 2, 2023.