Now that Shazam! Fury Of The Gods is in the cinema, is Rachel Zegler opens up about why she took the role of Anthea in the DC film. No, it doesn’t stem from a passion for superhero storytelling or because the role was just so perfectly suited to her, but for the same reason many of us do the less glamorous parts of our jobs: For a paycheck.
“I needed a job. I’m so serious,” Zegler says Shazam Red carpet.
“The reality is we’re in the middle of a pandemic and I wasn’t working and I couldn’t get a job for the life of me because West Side Story hadn’t come out yet,” she says The Hollywood Reporter. “It was really hard to order work for me.”
It is probably a similar line of logic that prompts many high-profile actors to stake their claim within the superhero industrial complex. In an industry that increasingly deprioritises non-franchise projects, taking on a role in a film of this nature today feels more like “paying your dues” or a quick cash grab that allows actors to pursue less financial but more meaningful projects. Take Oscar Isaac, who just after appearing in Marvel’s Moon Knight (2022), has since led a stage production of The sign in Sidney Brustein’s window at Brooklyn’s Academy of Music.
With Marvel and DC both continuing to churn out several projects a year, it’s no surprise that the productions have become almost a revolving door of one-off appearances from established actors. The lucky ones manage to get in, get paid and get out without a long contract that has tied them up from other projects for years. With the state of DC, there’s no telling if Zegler will return for another film, but it looks like she had fun making this one, even if it came from a more financially desperate place.
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“I loved the first movie and the fact that they even wanted me to come in for a callback and then a camera read and then everything in between, I’m so lucky that I got this job,” Zegler says. “I made some of my best friends on this job. I also absolutely love this movie, so I’m excited.”
Ultimately as actors now on a regular basis forget their commitment in MCU and DC projects, it’s nice to hear a little more honesty about how they end up in those roles instead of waxing poetic about a character like Shazam.