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“They were able to come by on a short notice”: Shazam 2 Director Reveals James Gunn Saved $125M Sequel by Casting Wife Jennifer Holland Despite Nepotism Accusations

david f sandberg shazam, james gunn and jennifer holland

The big film over the third weekend of March is Shazam 2, which was released worldwide on March 17th. The film which saw many indefinite delays and multiple postponements finally made its way to the theaters but was marred by a few controversies that plagued it before its release. To begin with, there were talks of DC Head James Gunn and Warner Brothers intentionally holding the movie hostage as they planned a complete boot of the DC franchise. Secondly, fans called out Gunn for allegedly propagating nepotism with the casting of his wife and Peacemaker star Jennifer Holland in a cameo. The lead actor Zachary Levi too was schooled by netizens for his tone-deaf comments on Twitter following the demise of John Wick actor Lance Reddick.

David Sandberg
Director David F. Sandberg

Despite these hurdles, Swedish filmmaker David F. Sandberg was of the opinion that a lot of things aligned perfectly for the film to be made. The director in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter spoke about all of these aspects including why James Gunn and Peter Safran must be credited for Shazam 2.

Also Read: ‘It’s not true’: Shazam! Fury of the Gods Director David F. Sandberg Claims Movie Delay is Not Because They are ‘Retooling’ the Sequel

David F. Sandberg Defends Jennifer Holland’s Cameo in Shazam 2

DC Head James Gunn has been accused of favoritism concerning his wife, actress Jennifer Holland. The director, who has worked with the star in Suicide Squad, also collaborated with her in Peacemaker and Black Adam. Despite Gunn openly stating that Holland’s casting was warranted and not a result of nepotism, he has received backlash online.

James gunn's wife Jennifer holland
James gunn’s wife Jennifer holland in Peacemaker

Shazam 2 director David Sandberg has now come forward to clear the air regarding these allegations and Holland’s cameo as Emilia Harcourt in the Levi-starrer. The director stated that while some viewers may attribute her presence as an ulterior motive to her husband being DC head, that is not the case in reality. Sandberg said,

“There were supposed to be characters from [Black Adam’s] Justice Society, but that fell apart three days before we were going to roll cameras. So, Peter Safran, who produced this movie and Peacemaker, made some calls, and thankfully, Jen Holland and Steve Agee were able to come by on very short notice.”

David Sandberg added that these decisions were incorporated before James Gunn and Peter Safran officially took over the mantle of DC, thus putting to rest the endless rumors that were circulating on social media.

Also Read: “She said ‘yes’ straight away”: Shazam: Fury of the Gods Director David F. Sandberg Reveals Helen Mirren Desperately Wanted To Be a Part of the Superhero Genre

David F. Sandberg Talks Of The Challenges In The Shazam Films

Shazam 2 director David Sandberg spoke about his experience directing both Part 1 and 2. Among the challenges that he faced, Sandberg highlighted the difficulty of juggling a big ensemble cast of young and experienced actors who played dual roles in the film. Specifically mentioning Caroline Currey who played both the young teenager Grace, and her adult superhero version, Mary, the director said,

“If we hadn’t done that, we could’ve had the adults in their superhero costumes and just swapped them out, but with Mary’s character, Grace had to go away for makeup and costume. So it would take 40 minutes for her to go back and forth”.

Caroline Currey
Actor Caroline Currey in Shazam!

Sandberg also revealed interesting trivia about how the technical and visual effects team worked around the clock to create a digital double for the scenes where both characters needed to be present on the screen. With this technique failing to work, they finally resorted to using smoke for the transitions.

Shazam 2 was released on March 17th and is currently playing in theaters worldwide.

Also Read: “All trailers do this”: Shazam 2 Director David F. Sandberg Defends Showing Almost the Entire Story in 2 Minute Trailer

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

Written by Sharanya Sankar

Sharanya is a mom, bookworm, and cinephile. Having completed her Masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication, writing is one of her passions. When she is not running behind her 11 and 9 year old, she spends her time watching and blogging about movies. She enjoys a range of genres from Indian mass entertainers to Hollywood and world cinema. Her interests also include analyzing pop culture in movies and music.