Now that filming on Shazam: Fury of the Gods is well underway, various images from production have made their way online. The latest behind-the-scenes images give fans their first look at Helen Mirren in full costume as the movie’s villain.
The Oscar-winning actress was spotted on set along in Atlanta, Georgia on Monday (June 21) and looked very cool in her villainous gear. In the film, Helen Mirren will portray the evil Hespera who is the daughter of Atlas. And Lucy Liu is playing her sister Kalypso. She was joined on set by Zachary Levi, who takes the lead as the title character in the DC Extended Universe movie.
The images with Helen Mirren made their way online a few hours after director David Sandberg shared a photo of the cast in their brand new superhero suits. The image features Zachary Levi as Shazam, Adam Brody as Freddy Freeman, Grace Fulton as Mary Bromfield, Ross Butler as Eugene Choi, Meagan Good as Darla Dudley, and D.J. Cotrona as Pedro Peña.
In anticipation of leaks, Sandberg shared the image on Twitter, saying he didn’t know how long he would keep the new suits a secret.
After Shazam! made his big-screen debut in 2019, fans were eager to see more of Billy Batson’s adventures. Based on the comics by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck, the story follows Billy Batson, a teenager who gains the ability to turn into the adult superhero Shazam!. Batson transforms by saying the phrase, “Shazam” which is an acronym of the ancient world Gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, and Mercury.
The movie was a hit with fans and critics, earning $366 million at the global box office against a production budget of just $80-100 million. Due to the film’s popularity and financial success, Warner Bros announced a sequel with screenwriter Henry Gayden and director David F. Sandberg set to return. The director promoted the sequel during a virtual panel at 2020’s DC FanDome event, announcing the film’s title and returning cast. Helen Mirren and others members of the cast including Lucy Liu were also eventually announced.
Like its predecessor, Shazam!: Fury of the Gods chronicles the adventures of Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his five foster siblings: Freddy, Darla, Mary, Eugene, and Pedro. His brothers and sisters also gained special powers by the end of the first movie. It is unclear how Helen Mirren will cross paths with the superhero family.
Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be a clear DC Comics counterpart for Helen Mirren as Hesperia, nor does the character have a foundation in Greek mythology. The closest equivalent in Greek mythology is Hesperides – the nymphs of the evening and golden light of sunsets, who were the “Daughters of the Evening” or “Nymphs of the West”. They were also called the Atlantides from their reputed father, the Titan Atlas.
Principal photography for the film began on May 26, 2021, in Atlanta, with Gyula Pados serving as cinematographer. Production on the film was delayed from an initial mid-2020 start due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, but as these shots of Helen Mirren show, things are back on track.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is scheduled to be released in the United States on June 2, 2023.