Jake Gyllenhaal as Spider-Man. Dougray Scott as Wolverine. Nicholas Cage as Superman. The list of actors who almost played superheroes goes on and on. Well, you can now add Shazam! star Zachary Levi, who, while speaking at the FAN EXPO Boston, opened up about his past longing to play the foul-mouthed Marvel anti-hero, Deadpool.

"I wanted to be Deadpool for so long. Like a long, long [time ago]. When I was reading Deadpool I wanted to be Deadpool, but Ryan is crushing that. They've done so well with creating that."

Zachary Levi praises the work of current live-action Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds, who has long been considered one of the most pitch perfect castings in comic book movie history. Of course, Levi has no reason to feel resentment toward his fellow A-lister, as he himself got the chance to don a red costume in this year's superhero comedy, Shazam!.

"I actually kind of think that Deadpool and Shazam! are similar movies in that we're both satellites of a greater universe that we get to kind of look at and point at and realize as an audience we can all do that together. Deadpool got to take all those potshots at the Marvel universe [laughs], particularly the X-Men franchise, and it was so genius. And that we get to be on the outside, existing within the DC Universe but not necessarily having to subscribe to everything that's already there."

Despite not being able to resist making a comparison between the two characters, Levi added that he is "so happy" playing the lightening-bolt-emblazoned hero, who Levi asserts is the coolest.

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"Then I got my own movie and I got to wear a cape and put the spandex on. Also I got to be, in my very unbiased opinion, kind of the coolest of all of them. I mean, not cool as like Batman cool, but I get to have fun. All those guys are moping around, 'Gotta save the universe again.' I'm like, [enthusiastically] 'Come on!' That's fun, you know?"

A clear difference between the two immature characters is Deadpool's penchant for foul language and uber violence, something that earned the film an R-rating. Levi though is proud of Shazam's family friendly leanings.

"Doing a superhero movie that an entire family can watch together and everyone gets something from, we need more of that, we need that. Chuck was like that, I feel like Chuck was a show families could watch together, Tangled is a movie that families can watch together."

He did, however, clarify that he has no ill-feelings for more adult oriented flicks, but attributed his inner child for why he ultimately got the Shazam! job.

"Some stuff is not gonna be kid accessible and that's totally cool, but if you can do it... and in our movie, that's what it was. I mean, I was a 14-year-old boy, like in real life, which is why I got the job."

Peering into that alternate universe where these almost-castings came to pass, Levi would have no doubt done a good job behind the Deadpool mask, but it sounds like he's more than happy with how things ended up. This news comes out of the Fan Expo Boston.

Jon Fuge