New Line Cinema has added yet another new cast member to Shazam!, with The Walking Dead fan favorite Cooper Andrews coming aboard. This new report doesn't reveal the character's identity, but does state that he will play, "the foster parent at the group home where Billy lives." In the comics, after the death of his parents, Billy Batson becomes part of a large foster family that includes five other kids, and foster parents Victor Vasquez and his wife Rosa Vasquez. While there is no confirmation that Cooper Andrews is playing Victor Vasquez, it's certainly possible.
We reported earlier this month that IT star Jack Dylan Glazer is playing Freddy Freeman, who, in the original comics, becomes best friends with Billy Batson. However, in the New 52 reboot comics, Freddy Freeman is one of Billy's foster siblings, along with Eugene Choi, Pedro Pena and Darla Dudley, and Billy's real twin sister Mary Batson. Along with Freddy Freeman, the rest of these characters have also been recently cast, with Grace Fulton playing Mary, Ian Chen playing Eugene Choi and Jovan Armand playing Pedro Pena, so it certainly seems likely that this character is Victor Vasquez. David J. MacNeil has also been cast as Mr. Bryer, who was Victor Vasquez's chief rival in the comics. In the New 52 comics, the Vasquez foster home is in Philadelphia, although it isn't clear if that's where this movie adaptation will be set.
Regardless of who he's playing, Cooper Andrews joins a cast that includes Zachary Levi as Shazam!, the hero who Billy Batson turns into after simply uttering his name, with Angel Asher playing young Billy Batson. If this story is following the New 52 line, then perhaps we'll start hearing more about the rest of this on-screen foster family coming together. With an early 2018 shoot being eyed for Pinewood Studios in Toronto, we may certainly start hearing about more cast members coming together before principal photography gets started. While an exact production start date has yet to be confirmed by the studio, a production listing claimed the shoot will last from February 5, 2018 to May 4, 2018.
Director David F. Sandberg (Lights Out), who last month hilariously shut down Reddit rumors that he had been fired from the production, is working from a script by Henry Gayden (Earth to Echo) and Darren Lemke (Jack the Giant Slayer), based on characters created by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker. Peter Safran is producing with Jeffrey Chernov serving as executive producer. New Line has set an April 5, 2018 release date for Shazam!, which falls between Disney's Dumbo on March 29, 2019 and Universal's new Doctor Dolittle project on April 12, 2019.
While it remains to be seen when any story details will be given, star Zachary Levi called this movie DC's answer to Guardians of the Galaxy, which is certainly a bold claim, although time will tell if it's accurate or not. Cooper Andrews is best known for playing the gregarious Jerry, a faithful servant to King Ezekiel (Khary Payton) on AMC's The Walking Dead, and AMC fans may also remember him as Yo-Yo Engberk on Halt and Catch Fire. He will next be seen on the big screen in Den of Thieves, alongside Gerard Butler, 50 Cent and Pablo Schreiber. Deadline broke the news of this casting earlier today.