New Line Cinema has added another important member to its Shazam! cast, with IT breakout star Jack Dylan Grazer signing on to star. The young actor has been cast as Freddy Freeman, the best friend of Billy Batson, and the only other person that knows the truth, that Billy can turn into a superhero by saying Shazam! out loud. With an early 2018 shoot being planned, it seems likely we’ll be hearing about plenty more new additions to the cast.
This casting could prove to be interesting down the line, since, in the DC Comics, Freddy Freeman would eventually become Captain Marvel Jr., so it will be interesting to see how that plays out. The character was created by Ed Herron and Mac Raboy, and first appeared in Whiz Comics #25 in December 1941. The character was introduced in the comics when Freddy and his grandfather find an unconscious Captain Nazi, who was punched into the lake that they were fishing in. They pull Captain Nazi from the water, but when he comes to, he throws the old man into the lake and knocks Freddy out with an oar. While the grandfather passed away, Shazam saves Freddy and takes him to a hospital. After learning that Freddy probably won’t survive, Billy takes Freddy to the wizard Shazam that granted his powers, and learned that he cannot save Freddy, but Billy can transfer some of his powers to Freddy to save him.
It isn’t known if the movie adaptation will be using the original comics in regards to the Freddy Freeman character, or if it will be based on the New 52 comics, where Freddy is part of Billy Batson’s adoptive foster family. Billy eventually grants his powers to all of his foster siblings, including Freddy Freeman, who has long blonde hair in this incarnation. There has been no indication that Freddy Freeman will become Captain Marvel Jr. at any point in this Shazam! movie, or what version of the comics this will be based on. Jack Dylan Grazer joins a cast that already includes Zachary Levi as Shazam!, Asher Angel as Billy Batson, with Mark Strong rumored to be playing the main villain, Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, and Grace Fulton also playing an unspecified character.
At one point, Dwayne Johnson was set to play the villain Black Adam in this movie, but we reported in January that Shazam and Black Adam will be two separate movies, and while Shazam! is currently moving forward, it isn’t ultimately clear when the Black Adam movie will head into production. While no plot details have surfaced yet, Zachary Levi has claimed that Shazam! is the DCEU’s answer to Guardians of the Galaxy, while also stating that the movie is like the Tom Hanks classic Big, only with super powers.
The movie made headlines last week after rumors surfaced that director David F. Sandberg was fired, with the filmmaker responding that reading the DCEULeaks section of Reddit, where the rumor first originated, “is the best,” making it clear that he has not been fired. The filmmaker will be working from a script by Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke, with Peter Safran producing. Jack Dylan Glazer, the nephew of producer Brian Grazer, only had small roles in the TV special The Greatest Event in Television History and Comedy Bang! Bang! before making his feature debut in the horror anthology Tales From Halloween and Scales: Mermaids Are Real, before his breakout role as hypochondriac Eddie Kaspbrak in New Line Cinema’s horror blockbuster IT. He also plays Young Alex on the CBS series Me, Myself and I and he will next be seen on the big screen in Beautiful Boy alongside Steve Carell, Timothee Chalamet and Maura Tierney. Deadline broke the news on this casting earlier today.