John August. The great William Goldman. Bryan Goluboff. Joel Cohen and Alec Sokolow.
No, it’s not a deadly Screenwriters’ 5-a-side team, Empire’s next opponents in the Movie Football League (we’re third in the table at the moment, beneath Five Key Grips, All Called Keith and Best Boys United). Rather, that’s the full list of writers who’ve taken a crack at adapting Shazam!, the Warner Bros. superhero movie based on DC’s iconic hero, Captain Marvel, and – by sheer dint of the fact that the movie hasn’t been made despite three years of development – who have all failed in their task.
Bill Birch will be hoping that he isn’t the sixth name on that fairly illustrious list. He was brought on board today to write the movie, about a teenager named Billy Batson who can transform into the ultra-powerful, ultra-built Captain Marvel (seen above, in a great Alex Ross piece) after uttering the eponymous password. Birch’s orders are, apparently, to delve back into the comic book for sources of inspiration, which would seem like a bit of a no-brainer, but don’t mind us, we’ll just be over here, in the corner, not saying anything.
Peter Segal, director of Get Smart, is still on board to yell ‘action!’ and do that framing things with his hands if and when Birch comes up with a decent script. Birch is already writing a script, One Finger Salute, for Segal, so it looks like they have a good working relationship.
Is this the end of Shazam!’s production travails? Find out in the next exciting news story that Empire writes about it!