- Publish Date
- Thursday, 4 April 2019, 11:02AM
My name is Barry Heath. I'm 9 years old and I cannot believe how lucky I've been lately. I was asked to go to LA in February and interview Chris Pratt and the other people from The Lego Movie. Now I am in New York to interview the stars of Shazam. I'm not sure why they would get me twice. But I'm very happy.
I am a big fan of the Shazam comics and read them all the time. I have dozens of Shazam comics – the oldest one is from 1986 - so I was pleased when I saw the movie, as it was great and hilarious. But it was not really what I expected.
In the Jeff Smith comics, Billy Baton is my age. In the movie, he's 15 so he went to some rude places and did some stuff like trying to buy beer that Jeff Smith's Shazam would never do.
My dad and I got to interview Zachary Levi, who plays Shazam, along with the rest of the cast. But in the interview rooms there were no seats for my dad so I had to sit on his knee. He said it was awkward. But it was actually really funny.
Zachary Levi was also in Thor - as Frandral – and used to be in the spy show Chuck, which my dad loves. He made me watch a lot of episodes in the hotel for preparation.
Zachary Levi was so friendly. He was really worried about how New Zealand was feeling after Christchurch. I told him we were sad.
I couldn't find a Shazam movie Lego figure anywhere, so I made Zachary one from spare bits at the Lego store in New York. I used the legs of a Star Wars Emperor guard and the body of a circus clown, which I scraped off the picture from its front. I used Elvis' hair and then cut out gold stickers for the Shazam details.
Zachary Levi loved it and asked if he was allowed to keep it. I said yes. I hope he doesn't throw it out. I would have liked to hold on to it. I think he will. He seemed really into it.
My favourite interview was with Mark Strong. He was the bad guy in Kick-Ass and Sinestro in Green Lantern. This time, he is Doctor Sivana in Shazam. I told him that in the comics Doctor Sivana is often depicted as short and ugly and asked him why they got a tall good-looking guy like him to play the role.
He was happy with that question and joked: "They couldn't resist my charms."
He also said: "They wanted to give him a bit more oomph to make him more of a modern-day nemesis."
Then I asked him which of the DC villains Doctor Sivana was more evil than, starting with the Joker.
He said, "Sivana has more power but the Joker might be more scheming."
Black Manta from Aquaman?
"Dr Sivana because he's got the sins, there's more of him than Black Manta."
And finally, Lex Luthor?
"Interesting one, Lex Luthor and him would have a real ding-dong together but you know, Lex can't fly."
My dad said: "He can in Mortal Kombat vs DC Universe." But I don't think that counts. It's a game, not a movie or a comic. Mark Strong agreed with me.
I asked director David F. Sandberg why so many superheroes are orphans - Batman, Superman, Spiderman, Ironman and Billy from Shazam.
He said: "I don't know, but in our movie, we have the great story of him finding his family and that family is not necessarily about blood, you can choose your family."
Which I thought was a great answer. Because the movie is very funny and the fights are awesome but it's nice how Billy sorts out his life.
I really enjoyed Shazam. It's very similar to the comics. It's hilarious, exciting and it makes you feel good. It was also a lot of fun going to New York to meet these people and watch their film. I have been very lucky.
This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission