Zachary Levi hosted his own Q&A panel last Saturday morning at the Boston Fan Expo, where several fans lined up to ask fun questions or tell Levi he was their “second favorite Fandral”. The questions ranged from his work on the canceled NBC show Chuck to his most recent role as Shazam in the DC film Shazam!.
In the Q&A, Levi discussed how much he enjoyed working on the film Shazam! because it was “a movie that the whole family could enjoy.” Levi said he had fun playing a superhero and a kid. It was a chance to remind him about the importance of being silly. “When we are adults, we forget to have fun,” said Levi. It also helps that he got to play a really cool superhero.
But Levi originally turned down the role of the iconic superhero. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was cast as Black Adam before Shazam was cast and, when Levi was asked to audition for the role, Levi turned it down because he felt he could not emulate the antithesis of The Rock.
Levi auditioned for a different part in the film but was ultimately given the main part of Shazam. “It all happened so fast,” recalled Levi at the panel. It’s crazy to think that Levi almost lost this role because of The Rock.
While The Rock didn’t appear in Shazam!, he will be in the film’s sequel. Levi confirmed at his panel that the script for the sequel is currently in the works.
One person asked Levi what his advice would be to young people trying to become actors. “Go figure out how to genuinely love yourself first,” replied Levi. Levi is a huge advocate for mental health awareness and makes it a point to speak about loving yourself. He discussed his battle with his own mental health issues and depression at the panel.
In May, Levi was named the Mental Health Ambassador for Active Minds. Active Minds is an organization that focuses on advocating mental health awareness and education on various college campuses.
There were a lot of Chuck fans at the panel as well. The show aired on NBC for five seasons before being canceled in 2012. It garnered a cult following that followed Levi’s career from Tangled to Shazam! and to all of his appearances at conventions. There’s always a Chuck fan within a ten-foot radius of Levi it seems.
Since Chuck was one of Levi’s earliest roles, it makes sense that there are a passionate group of fans who have grown up with him. Levi said in the panel that his favorite aspect of working on Chuck was the community of fans and his coworkers who felt like family.
At one point in the panel, a mother came up to thank Levi for inspiring her daughter through Chuck to get her “spark” back. There were a lot of personal connections and “thank you’s” made at the panel that led to a few teary-eyed moments.
Levi said his favorite episode of Chuck was the one he got to direct. It’s called “Chuck Versus The Beard” (Season 3, episode 9). In this episode, Chuck reveals his secret to Morgan that he is Agent Carmichael. It’s a big plot point and character development for Chuck that allows him to continue growing in his ability to “flash”. This was also Levi’s television directorial debut.
Levi is hopeful about a Chuck movie and says he will continue advocating for one “until he dies”.
Currently, Levi is working on Tangled: The Series where he is reprising his role as Flynn Rider (better known as Eugene Fitzherbert).
Shazam! Images property of Warner Bros.
Chuck image property of NBC.