It's been a decade since Armie Hammer came this close to playing Batman in George Miller's abandoned Justice League: Mortal, yet the actor can't seem to escape the long shadow of superhero films. Oh, sure, he's brought a lot of that on himself, by repeatedly trolling fans with the possibility that he'll wear a Green Lantern ring in the DC Extended Universe.
However, Hammer (seemingly) had nothing to do with current speculation that he might say the magic word and become Shazam in Warner Bros.' long-developing film. That can be placed squarely on the doorstep of Black Adam actor Dwayne Johnson, who mentioned Hammer for the role -- although not exactly by name -- just last month.
“I’m gonna throw one name out here and I wanna see how the fans are gonna react to this,” Johnson said at the time. “A guy who I met, and after I met him I was like, ‘Man that guy’s such a cool guy, he’s a lot bigger than I thought he would be.’ And when I walked away I remember telling our producer, who I’ve worked with for a long time, Hiram Garcia, we both looked at each other and were like, ‘Possibly Shazam?’ I’m not even gonna tell you his name, I’m just gonna say Lone Ranger.”
So what does Hammer, who's frequently teased a green costume, think of the possibility of donning the iconic red-and-gold threads of Shazam?
"Dude, so Dwayne said that thing and literally blew up my social media," he told CinemaBlend. "I couldn't even open my Instagram ... I thought my phone was gonna melt. But other than that no one's said anything. Yeah ... I'm keeping my options open."
Asked during a press day for Cars 3 which DCEU role he's aiming for, Hal Jordan or Shazam, Hammer replied to Screen Rant, "What an embarrassment of riches to have all of these choices. The funny thing is, is nobody has ever come to me an been like … My agent has never called and said, 'Armie, Warner Bros, has been talking to me. There’s really interested in you. This whole thing.' Never. In fact, after … there was like a … When the Green Lantern stuff first kind of started, which I think is Geoff Johns fault, because he like followed me on Twitter or something, and everybody was like what does that mean?! So uh … how did it happen, Um, I called my agent, after it had been going on for like a week or two, it had been going on for a little bit, I called my agent, I was like, 'Man, have you heard anything from like DC or anything?' And he was like, 'No.' I was like, 'Nothing?' He was like, 'No.' I was like, 'Not one thing?,' and he was like, 'No. Why?' I was like, 'Nothing about … Green Lantern?,' and he was like, 'No, nothing,' and I was like, all right. That’s it, that’s the end of it."
A Shazam! film has been in development since at least the early 2000s, before stalling in 2013. However, the project sprang back the following year as part of Warner Bros. ambitious DC Extended Universe slate, with Johnson attached to star not as the hero but instead as Black Adam. Those plans evolved further in January with the announcement of a solo film starring Johnson's antihero.
Shazam! is targeted for release on April 5, 2019, but Warner Bros. has yet to announce a director.