At Comic-Con International, Warner Bros. kicked off their presentation on Saturday with hilarious footage from their update on Get Smart directed by Peter Segal, who directed three of Adam Sandler’s recent comedies and comedy classics like The Naked Gun 33 1/3, but he’s also attached to helm New Line’s movie Shazam! based on the Fawcett and DC Comics character Captain Marvel. Produced by Michael Uslan (Batman, The Spirit) and written by John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), it’s one of the lighter comic superheroes, but it still might seem like a strange choice to some people considering Segal’s past work.
We sat down with Segal for an exclusive interview at Comic-Con International and asked him how the project came his way. “That I’m really looking forward to,” he told us. “We’re about to get our first draft in the next couple of weeks. Love John (August), he’s a great guy, and we’re glad to have him doing this. I think the reason why they came to me on that was the same reason they came to me 8 years ago on ‘Fantastic Four’ even though I didn’t stay on that project. We couldn’t get the budget down. I asked Stan Lee, ‘Why did you choose me?’ and he said, ‘Because our heroes have flaws and in the flaws is a sense of humor.’ It’s the same reason they came to me on ‘Shazam!’ Because it’s a 14-year-old prepubescent boy who becomes a superhero, so he’s got those same insecurities, those same fantasies. That’s where I think the heart of that movie is and I think that’s what makes it different from the other comic books.”
It turns out that Segal is a big fan of comic books and was glad to finally get a chance to tackle his first superhero project. “I was sort of a heartbroken that we could never fix the budget back 8 years ago on ‘Fantastic Four.’ It was a different time when even movies like ‘Spider-Man’ with James Cameron were being held up because the technology hadn’t reached the same level that it is today, and so the movies just cost too much. Now that the computers can help you achieve more and make a Spider-Man fly through the city, it’s still expensive but you can do it.”
“We’re really going back and looking at the source material,” he replied when asked which version of Captain Marvel has inspired August’s script. “There are multiple incarnations of Captain Marvel. It’s been reinvented over the last few years and Black Adam has had a resurgence in popularity, so we’re looking at the whole 70 year life of it and drawing from it.” Segal also remarked that we can expect the Marvel Family to show up as well.
“There’s still going to be a lot of kick-ass action,” he added, “but I think there’s going to be a sweetness also.”
Get Smart opens on June 20, 2008, but Segal should be done with that later this year and ready to hit Shazam!. Look for more with Segal on the Warners action-comedy here soon.