Screenwriter John August (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is speaking out on his blog about his long-in-development Captain Marvel project, originally for New Line and then taken over by Warner Bros. during the merger last year. Based on the Fawcett Comics character created by C.C. Beck and Bill Parker in 1939, Shazam! was going to be directed by Get Smart director Peter Segal. In fact, there was a Warner Bros. press release roughly six weeks ago, which you can read here, confirming Segal was still attached to direct the project based on August's script.
ComingSoon.net/Superhero Hype! has spoken to both John August and Peter Segal a number of times in recent years about the developing project, both of whom confirmed it would be handled as an action-comedy. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson had pretty much been sewn up to play Captain Marvel baddie Black Adam. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like Warner Bros. is interested in John August's comedic direction for the character anymore, despite that being the way the character was mostly depicted in comic books over the past 70 years.
On the blog, August goes into great detail about his dealings with New Line and Warner Bros. both before and after last year's writers strike and how communication stalled when it felt like Warner Bros. wasn't on the same page to do an action-comedy take on the character that could appeal to younger kids as well as adults. Rather, they seemed to want to go into darker territory following the success of The Dark Knight.
It's fascinating reading for those who've been following the project or are interested in the behind-the-scenes of the development of a comic book based film project, but August's lament about the project concludes with:
By the time I got back, the project was dead. By "dead," I mean that it won't be happening. I don't think it's on the studio's radar at all. It may come back in another incarnation, with another writer, but I can say with considerable certainty that it won't be the version I developed.
You can read the entire story of the way the project has seemingly stalled over on John August's blog.