David Sandberg on Gal Gadot’s Marvel Lady

[This story contains spoilers for Shazam! Fury of the Gods.]

After becoming a member of the DCEU in 2017, Shazam! Fury of the Gods director David F. Sandberg is able to hold up his cape.

With the second chapter of the Shazamily’s adventures now in theaters, the Swedish filmmaker is lastly in a position to open up about one of many highlights of his complete expertise. After all, that might be Gal Gadot’s Marvel Lady cameo, which he truly directed remotely from dwelling. The prospect to correctly embrace a member of the Justice League additionally made up for Henry Cavill’s Superman cameo that didn’t pan out on 2019’s Shazam!, leading to a headless Superman cameo. 

However due to that prior disappointment, Sandberg nonetheless anticipated the worst to occur with Gadot.

“[Wonder Woman] was at all times speculated to be in [Shazam! Fury of the Gods], however I didn’t imagine it was going to occur due to what occurred on the primary film the place we needed to do a headless Superman cameo. I assumed that was going to occur right here, too,” Sanberg tells The truestarz

Sandberg provides: “However then it truly did occur, which was nice, as a result of then we might poke enjoyable on the headless cameo of the primary film, with the Wizard [Djimon Hounsou] dream sequence. However we by no means might have achieved that if we didn’t even have Gal on the finish as a result of folks would’ve been livid.”

Sandberg can be clarifying the timing of the mid-credit scene because it consists of Emilia Harcout (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee) from James Gunn’s The Suicide Squad and Peacemaker. With Gunn now the co-CEO of DC Studios alongside Fury of the Gods producer Peter Safran, some viewers is likely to be considering that they made a late addition to the movie to be able to join Shazam (Zachary Levi) to Gunn’s new DCU slate, however the scene was truly shot lengthy earlier than Gunn and Safran took the reins of DC. 

“There have been speculated to be characters from [Black Adam’s] Justice Society, however that fell aside three days earlier than we have been going to roll cameras,” Sandberg shares. “So, Peter Safran, who produced this film and Peacemaker, made some calls, and fortunately, Jen Holland and Steve Agee have been in a position to come by on very quick discover.”

Along with his duties within the DCEU now coming to a detailed, Sandberg is raring to return to his roots within the horror style, and that features reunions together with his Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation producer, James Wan, in addition to former DC Movies president, Walter Hamada. The latter has government produced all 4 of Sandberg’s characteristic movies. 

“I even have one mission in improvement with James … and I’ve been speaking quite a bit with Walter about discovering one thing to do collectively. I’ve by no means made a film with out him, so I might like to do extra with Walt,” Sandberg says.

Under, throughout a current spoiler dialog with THR, Sandberg additionally discusses how he was caught off guard by the Fury of the Gods advertising staff’s sudden resolution to incorporate Gadot’s Marvel Lady within the movie’s remaining wave of TV spots.

Nicely, you missed your L.A. premiere attributable to Covid. How are you feeling? 

I’m feeling fairly good now, truly. I missed the premiere, however I’m again on my toes now. 

You have been additionally forward of the ChatGPT curve with “Steve.”

Yeah, it’s kinda humorous how Steve became one thing well timed.

So let’s minimize to the chase. When did Gal Gadot’s Marvel Lady enter into the equation?

Proper from the beginning and from the primary script. She was at all times speculated to be in it, however I didn’t imagine it was going to occur due to what occurred on the primary film the place we needed to do a headless Superman cameo. I assumed that was going to occur right here, too. So I began to assume, “Okay, when she will be able to’t do it or when it falls aside, how can we carry Shazam again to life? Will we’ve to carry Helen Mirren’s character, Hespera, again? What are we going to do?” However then it truly did occur, which was nice, as a result of then we might poke enjoyable on the headless cameo of the primary film, with the Wizard [Djimon Hounsou] dream sequence and issues like that. However we by no means might have achieved that if we didn’t even have Gal on the finish as a result of folks would’ve been livid. 

I do know Shazam!’s headless Superman cameo was a disappointment on the time, however I appreciated the way you turned it right into a working gag with Marvel Lady being headless till she wasn’t.

(Laughs.) Yeah, and loads of the credit score goes to the writers [Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan], too.

Did Gal’s fame precede her on set?

Due to a bunch of conditions, I needed to direct her stuff, remotely. So I used to be at dwelling, and I had one display with a feed from the digital camera and one feed that was a Zoom window the place I might discuss to her and everybody on set. It was form of bizarre, however it labored out rather well. She was tremendous good and tremendous skilled, and it was a dream to work along with her. 

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What have the conversations with advertising been like? I can’t think about you needed that secret out, pre-release, however I do know you’re pragmatic as properly. 

I used to be stunned. (Laughs.) I used to be simply returning from the press tour, and I bought a textual content, asking, “Hey, why spoil Marvel Lady?” And I used to be like, “What are you speaking about?” So I didn’t know, they usually did apologize for not conserving me within the loop. However I perceive why they did it, as a result of they needed to get folks to see the film. So, after all, I perceive, however it’s a disgrace as a result of today, the one audiences who get to see these films as meant are check audiences. After they noticed the film, they didn’t know Rachel Zegler’s character was a goddess, for instance. For them, it was truly a twist that labored, however then, as soon as advertising began, you must present her in her goddess garments and that complete factor is out of the bag. So nobody is absolutely going to be stunned that she’s a goddess undercover in a college. 

For many who don’t know, you forged Rachel Zegler earlier than West Aspect Story got here out, and whereas watching the film, I did the truth is marvel in case you needed to withhold her character’s actual id within the trailer.

Yeah, that was at all times the intention with the film, however as quickly as they began engaged on the advertising, it was simply going to be inconceivable to maintain it secret, sadly. However lots of people truly take pleasure in spoilers. There’s so many prolific leakers and scoopers on Twitter who’ve so many followers, they usually actually need to know each element about DC and Marvel films earlier than they see them. If that’s your factor, that’s your factor, however I actually take pleasure in figuring out as little a couple of film as potential. I simply noticed The Menu lately, and I assumed it was going to be a cannibal film. So I had no thought what it actually was going into it.

I simply had this dialog with Matt Reeves lately in regard to Cloverfield and the way you would by no means pull off that form of launch once more.

Yeah, you would most likely do it with a smaller film at a decrease price range, however a superhero film? Neglect it.

So, the mid-credit scene. Primarily based on the inclusion of two of James Gunn’s characters, Emilia Harcourt (Jennifer Holland) and John Economos (Steve Agee), folks is likely to be considering that it was a late addition to be able to join Shazam (Zachary Levi) to the brand new DCU, however that wasn’t the case, was it? It was already a factor.

Yeah, poor James [Gunn]. (Laughs.) I noticed folks on-line going, “Cease casting your spouse [Jennifer Holland] in all the pieces,” and it’s like, “No.” So there have been speculated to be characters from [Black Adam’s] Justice Society, however that fell aside three days earlier than we have been going to roll cameras. I used to be actually upset as a result of we had constructed that deserted gasoline station set, and we might solely shoot that scene in that little piece of forest. I used to be like, “That is so boring. We want one thing right here.” So the artwork division constructed that complete gasoline station and introduced in some previous vehicles and issues. They made it look very nice with only a few sources, and so I used to be like, “We’ve got this set and we’ve the time, so we’ve to shoot one thing right here.”

So, Peter Safran, who produced this film and Peacemaker, made some calls, and fortunately, Jen Holland and Steve Agee have been in a position to come by on very quick discover. I imply, the scene makes rather less sense with them. It’s like, “Why are they recruiting for Justice Society?” however you possibly can form of see it as they’re working for Amanda Waller [Viola Davis]. So I used to be simply very grateful to get them in there, and it was actually cool taking pictures it as a result of I’m a giant fan of Peacemaker. So, sitting there and watching the monitor felt like I used to be watching a brand new episode of Peacemaker, and all of that occurred a very long time in the past [before Gunn and Safran became the co-CEOs of DC Studios].

Generally, I do know you’re allowed to reference just about something you need so long as you don’t present it, however with the Captain Marvel and Avengers references, did that require a number of ranges of approval on the studio?

Only one stage. (Laughs.) It’s unusual as a result of you possibly can’t [visually] reference all the pieces you need. I found that on the primary film once I put in a reference to Watchmen, with somewhat Watchmen emblem factor, and clearance got here again to me and mentioned, “You possibly can’t try this. You need to verify with us first.” You’d assume, “Nicely, it’s all DC, proper?” however it’s all very difficult rights points and issues.

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And on this one, I needed to have a reference to Detective Chimp within the pediatrician’s workplace by having a chimpanzee plushy with somewhat deerstalker hat on him, however clearance was like, “No, you possibly can’t try this.” However with the Captain Marvel stuff, [Michael Gray from the ‘70s Shazam! TV show] was supposed to only say, “Holy moley,” however I used to be like, “Let’s do one take the place you say ‘Captain Marvel’ although we’re not going to have the ability to use it. Why not?” After which I requested the fellows at DC: “Can we use that?” And so they have been like, “Nicely, Marvel has talked about DC characters of their films, so why not?”

Neither of your films finally wanted Black Adam (Dwayne Johnson), however are you disillusioned in any respect that you just didn’t get to discover Shazam and Black Adam’s relationship in a significant capability? 

No, probably not. The factor about Black Adam is that he has the identical powers as Shazam, and we did that within the first film the place we gave Sivana [Mark Strong] the identical energy. So I don’t assume the combat itself would’ve been tremendous attention-grabbing, however I do assume it’s a missed alternative. What makes essentially the most sense is to have them combat one another, so it’s cash left on the desk. Nevertheless it’s how it’s.

There was a time period the place this film was counterprogramming to Avatar: The Manner of Water. Did you truly discuss your self into that concept at one level?

At first, once they put it there, I used to be like, “That sounds scary,” however then, I truly grew to love the thought. I truly needed us to remain there. I perceive the rationale why they moved it as a result of [Avatar: The Way of Water] was taking over the entire IMAX and large-format screens, however I nonetheless assume it might have labored somewhat bit like counterprogramming. However who is aware of?

From the youngsters to the grown-ups, you have got an amazing forged throughout the board, however the draw back is that you’ve got two worthy actors enjoying only one function. So was it a tricky juggling act to maintain all people concerned? 

Yeah, that’s why we needed to go the route of taking the youngsters’ powers away. It wouldn’t make sense for them to be youngsters for a lot of the film in the event that they could possibly be superheroes, and also you need to see the youngsters as a result of they’re so charming and nice. Nevertheless it was fairly a wrestle to offer everybody sufficient time, and it’s somewhat bit uneven within the film. It’s additionally a problem to shoot as properly, with many actors and characters to wrangle. It was truly difficult a bit with Grace [Caroline Currey] enjoying each younger and [Super Hero] Mary. If we hadn’t achieved that, we might’ve had the adults of their superhero costumes and simply swapped them out, however with Mary’s character, Grace needed to go away for make-up and costume. So it will take 40 minutes for her to travel.

A sensible man as soon as mentioned that moviemaking is nothing however downside fixing. So, what was an instance of downside fixing on this film? 

Nicely, we needed to do one factor with Mary, truly. After they’ve saved everybody on the bridge they usually all come collectively, we’ve that massive shot that begins out with Mary flying in and touchdown subsequent to digital camera. And the way in which you must do that’s it begins out with a digi-double. So it’s a digital Mary, after which it turns into the true Mary, Grace, who’s up on wires and being lowered to the bottom. However that takeover simply didn’t work.

Often, whenever you go from a digi-double to an actual character, you attempt to do it in a quick movement so that you get some movement blur to cover the mixing. And although this was a really easy, very steady descent, it simply didn’t work, and there was not sufficient money and time to redo the digi-double and all the pieces. In order that’s why there’s a bunch of smoke in that scene. (Laughs.) It was like, “Let’s put this plume of smoke throughout the entire display.” 

In order she goes via that smoke, that’s when the transition occurs between digital to actual. It’s a kind of band-aids that you just do in fairly a couple of locations in a film. It’s like, “Let’s add a lens flare or smoke or mud and even shaky digital camera, generally.” It’s one thing to cover the seams or attempt to disguise the issues that didn’t work. 

I’m sorry for spoiling your subsequent YouTube video.

(Laughs.) No worries.

Firstly of the film, a museum safety guard is frozen with a visible impact that’s harking back to Dune’s shields, and then you definitely even have a dragon all through the film. To streamline issues, did the studio refer you to the identical VFX corporations that they used for Sport of Thrones and Dune

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Nicely, we did use Pixomondo for a few of the dragon sequences, they usually did the dragons for Sport of Thrones. However that’s simply what is sensible. In the event you’re making Rampage and also you want a gorilla, you’d name Weta as a result of they did the Planet of the Apes films. So it simply made sense to get these guys.

It’s humorous that you just talked about Dune as a result of that was a reference I used. It was one thing that took endlessly to get proper as a result of it was speculated to be this pressure area. What Hespera is definitely doing is she’s manipulating the water in his physique, and the primary issues we did simply didn’t work out proper. And ultimately, I used to be taking a look at references for pressure fields, and I used to be like, “Hey, look what Dune is doing. That would work if we’re doing one thing just like that.” So it was nearly looking for one thing that labored.

What shot are you most happy with within the movie?

Most likely one of many photographs within the stadium battle in direction of the top. There’s one shot from beneath the dragon after he simply bought hit, and it’s back-lit by lightning. It simply appears actually cool. 

Did the Philadelphia Phillies soar on the probability to have a digital model of their ballpark destroyed within the film? 

(Laughs.) I’m unsure. I wasn’t actually concerned in these conversations, however I’m actually glad that we bought to do it. The primary film was shot in Toronto and this film was shot in Atlanta, and neither place appears like Philadelphia. So we tried to get as many Philadelphia references and landmarks in there as we might to make it really feel somewhat bit like Philadelphia, a minimum of for individuals who have by no means been there.

You gave your self a cameo dying within the film. What have been you screaming as your final phrases?

Släpp mig!” It’s Swedish for “let me go.”

Did Djimon Hounsou admire the Wizard’s makeover on the finish?

(Laughs.) Yeah, I believe so. We will see what he truly appears like and the way fashionable he will be. That was loads of enjoyable simply bringing him again. He’s a spotlight of the film. We killed him within the first film, after which for this one, it was like, “Oh shit. It might be good to have him again.”

He bought the largest giggle throughout my screening. It’s when he rolls his eyes at Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer) and Anthea’s (Rachel Zegler) candy discuss.

Yeah, he’s nice. He’s actually humorous, too. Jack and Djimon have been an amazing mixture, with Djimon being the straight man and Jack being the annoying child. 

I additionally thought it was actually intelligent how the post-credit scene pokes enjoyable on the final film’s credit score scene that you just didn’t finally fulfill. 

It felt like we had to do this as a result of I knew folks have been going to be like, “Whoa, what occurred to the worm from the primary one? Weren’t you setting one thing up? What occurred?” So we needed to a minimum of do some form of nod or simply present one thing that claims, “Hey, we didn’t overlook about him. He’s simply nonetheless engaged on one thing.”

So the Shazam household’s future within the DCU is up within the air, however after two films, have you ever scratched your superhero film itch at this level? Are you prepared to maneuver on?

That’s undoubtedly how I really feel proper now, yeah. (Laughs.) I began my Shazam journey proper after Annabelle: Creation in 2017, and so it’s been fairly a couple of years of simply Shazam. So I’m very prepared to maneuver on and return to horror and simply strive another issues.

Are you going to comply with Walter Hamada to Paramount and set one thing up there? Or are you going to accompany James Wan to Common? Each of your producers have scattered a bit.

Both one can be nice. I even have one mission in improvement with James. It’s not at Common, however it’s together with his firm, Atomic Monster. And I’ve been speaking quite a bit with Walter about discovering one thing to do collectively. I’ve labored with Walter on each single one among my films up to now. I’ve by no means made a film with out him, so I might like to do extra with Walt.

Nicely, David Sandberg, congratulations on Shazam! Fury of the Gods, and I can’t wait to see the place you go subsequent. 

I can’t both. (Laughs.) Thanks a lot.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods is now enjoying in film theaters. This interview was edited for size and readability.



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