Helen Mirren reveals what convinced her to star in the Shazam! sequel

Dame Helen Mirren has revealed that she finds some superhero films to be “very dark” but she was charmed by the “heart and sweetness” of Shazam!

The 77-year-old Oscar-winner plays one of the villains – Hespera, daughter of Atlas – in the film’s upcoming sequel, Shazam! Fury Of The Gods.

The DC Comics film continues the story from the 2019 original, which follows teenager Billy Batson who, on reciting the magic word Shazam, is transformed into his adult superhero alter ego, played by Zachary Levi.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods photocall – London
Dame Helen Mirren and Zachary Levi (Ian West/PA)

Appearing on The One Show on Monday night, Dame Helen said of the first film: “I loved the heart of it and the sweetness of it and the funniness of it, I was utterly charmed by it.

“And superhero movies are often very dark, very powerful. I’m not dissing them but sometimes they have this real darkness about them.

“Shazam! had a serious heart to it because this feeling of kids who can’t find their place in the world, and in their imaginations they go into the superhero world, which is so true to life as well, you see little kids running around with their sweaters tied around their neck.

“I just thought it was utterly charming and so, when I was asked to be in the second one, I basically said, ‘Yes, I’d love to’.”

The veteran actress said playing a goddess was a “lovely thing” as she did not have to think about portraying human complexity.

Shazam! Fury of the Gods photocall – London
Lucy Liu, Dame Helen Mirren and Rachel Zegler (Ian West/PA)

The sequel film sees Levi’s character fight against Dame Helen’s Hespera and fellow Greek goddess Kalypso, played by Charlie’s Angels actress Lucy Liu, and Anthea, portrayed by West Side Story star Rachel Zegler.

Dame Helen added that she thought exploring the world of ancient gods and goddesses was a “genius idea” as they were the superheroes of their day and that the sibling rivalry in the film also rings true to the mythology.

“When you read the mythology, they do have these spats between each other and so (the writers) nailed that sort of sibling rivalry.

“I’m the eldest sister, clearly – I have an elder sister myself and I always do what she says. It’s a weird thing. You do what your older sister tells you to do.

“So I assume in the story that my beautiful younger sisters will do what I tell them to do, and of course they don’t.”

Shazam! Fury of the Gods photocall – London
Asher Angel, Lucy Liu, Zachary Levi, Dame Helen Mirren, Rachel Zegler, Djimon Honsou and Jack Dylan Granger (Ian West/PA)

The film was written by Henry Gayden and Chris Morgan with David F Sandberg on directing duties.

Earlier in the day, Dame Helen looked powerful as she attended a photocall for the new film, donning a long bronze-toned coat paired with black leather gloves and her striking light blonde locks for the event in central London.

She was joined by co-star Levi, who opted for a grey button-up shirt over a white T-shirt and grey-toned trousers for the photoshoot.

Her fellow goddesses were also at the event, with Liu wearing a long floral print dress while Zegler dressed in a black cut-out dress with metallic details.

Their co-stars Asher Angel, Djimon Hounsou and Jack Dylan Grazer were also pictured at the event at the Savoy Place Rooftop ahead of the film’s release next week.

Shazam! Fury Of The Gods will be released in cinemas on March 17.