The upcoming Shazam! movie is set to be all types of fun, and one person whose been having the time of his life on the set of this fantastic film is young star Jack Dylan Grazer who stars as Billy Batson’s best friend and all-around superhero expert Freddy Freman.
Grazer opens up about his role, the film, superheroes and exactly what fans can expect from this awesome film in a brand new interview below. Check it out:
Why is Freddy the perfect superhero sidekick?
Jack Dylan Grazer: …and mentor, and sensei. Because he’s an aficionado extraordinaire of them all. He knows it all. He can tell you every fact about Superman right off the top of his head. Freddy doesn’t have a lot, so that’s kind of like his fantasy, to live vicariously through these heroes, I guess. That’s why he loves him.
What do you think it is about Billy that Freddy immediately connects with?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Well, first because Freddy is excited about having a new friend. He doesn’t have a lot of them…he has no friends actually. And he has an inkling that Billy has a story to tell, and he wants to know his story. And then when he finds out that Billy is a superhero, he’s dumbfounded and is like, “I want to be even more involved and help you out and figure this journey out with you.”
Could Billy—as Shazam—have made that journey without Freddy?
Jack Dylan Grazer: No, he would have definitely freaked out!
So what do you think it is about Freddy, just in his nature, that puts Billy the most at ease when he gets to the house? Because he’s not interested in becoming part of this family or all of these kids.
Jack Dylan Grazer: Freddy’s got charisma. He’s really kindhearted. He’s funny, he’s got a really great sense of humor. And he’s really entertaining to listen to. And he’s really smart and witty and quick. He’s just a really good person to be around. He’s uplifting. And, if you wanted to learn some stuff about superheroes, he’s the man.
As a member of the Losers Club from IT, you worked with a close-knit ensemble of kids, and now you’ve worked with a group of kids on this film. How was that dynamic different, or the same?
Jack Dylan Grazer: They’re both a family thing, but the Losers Club was very much bonded through hardship and triumph. Shazam! was a very big family dynamic with all these people who were great to be around, really sweet. They’re all amazing actors, really amazing kids, and I love them. We spent a lot of time together. We went to escape rooms. We went and had dinner almost every single night. We hung out in our hotel. We played and we had a bunch of fun.
Speaking of fun, it’s rumored that the biggest kid on set was the biggest person on set: Zachary Levi. You have most of your scenes together, so how did create that dynamic between Freddy and Shazam?
Jack Dylan Grazer: We share a pretty good dynamic together. He’s a really great actor to work alongside. He’s a really great friend, really fun. I love him. He’s so funny. He was always coming on set with his music—he’s got a whole playlist and it’s a really good one, and he makes everybody smile and dance and laugh. He’s just such a fun light on set. Such a beautiful person. I was really lucky working with him.
Do you think he was definitely the perfect actor to play Shazam?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Perfect, I mean, the casting could not have been better. He is phenomenal, and he was perfect, because he is a 14-year-old in a however-old-he-is body.
He had to do a lot of stunts, and Freddy, of course, is right there along with him. Was it fun to play the guy egging him on while he’s taking all the hits?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Yeah. Freddy’s like the coach, saying “Go on, get out there!” I’m like the ring guy in a boxing match, just giving him the water. But I’m a little more helpful than that.
What kind of on-set environment did David F. Sandberg establish for you guys, as a director?
Jack Dylan Grazer: He gave us a lot of freedom to figure it out on our own, and when he did give us direction he made it very specific, but he also gave us room enough to grow and expand our characters on our own.
During production on Shazam!, what did you do with your downtime?
Jack Dylan Grazer: Oh, I don’t have downtime. I have school. That’s my downtime.
Freddy comes from the Shazam! canon, but you’re the first to play him, so what research did you do to portray him?
Jack Dylan Grazer: I read The New 52, so I had an inkling about how this character acted. But even when I auditioned, I felt that I was really in tune with Freddy. I felt that I related with him a lot and that we were kind of the same. Not that I am in love with superheroes, but that we just have the same amount of charisma and outgoingness.
You’re part of the Stephen King world, and now you’re part of the DC world. What does that feel like for you? How do you take that in?
Jack Dylan Grazer: I sometimes can’t believe it. It happened so fast. And it’s hard for my brain to adapt to it. I’m still like a 15-year-old kid and I’m just living my dream and I’m going with the flow. But this is what I love to do so I can’t imagine what I would be doing if I didn’t have this in my life. I’m so lucky. It’s really cool being a part of the DCU because I grew up idolizing the DC universe. And to be a part of that now is just insane. It’s incredible.
What do you hope audiences will experience when they see Shazam!?
Jack Dylan Grazer: I think they’re going to be blown away. It’s hard to match what the fandom anticipates sometimes, because if you’re making an adaptation of anything that was originally a fan favorite thing, like IT for example, it’s kind of scary to anticipate how the fans will receive it and take it in, and hopefully enjoy it. IT was nerve-wracking because they read the book and they’re like, “Wow, this is amazing.” They see the miniseries and they’re like “Wow, that scared me so much as a kid.” IT was received well, and I feel the same will happen with Shazam!
Shazam! arrives in cinemas on April 4.