According to Segal, he had been working with DC Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns on the Shazam project, but he said the success of Zack Snyder's Man of Steel — and Warner's plans for its upcoming sequel with both Superman and Batman — have shifted focus away from Shazam.
"The thing is, Shazam has always lived this tortured life going against Superman," said the director during an interview with ComingSoon.net. "This dates back to the 1930s. Because Captain Marvel had similar powers to Superman, the DC folks back then sued what was the most popular comic book on the stands at that time. Years later, they bought it and it became a DC property but, as long as Superman stays hot in the market place, there seems like a little bit of a crossover between the two characters."
The director said the buzz about the Shazam film was loudest after Bryan Singer's Superman Returns didn't do as well as expected. "[After Returns], it seemed like there was a moment in time where Shazam was going to see the light of day," he said. "That's when you heard those stories. Now that Superman is being invigorated and going up against Batman, I think it's difficult for DC to figure out how to launch this character in the wake of Superman's resurgence."
Newsarama asked Geoff Johns last year about the Shazam film, and he indicated a feature film about Shazam was still a possibility. "There's always a possibility for Shazam," Johns said. "There's always talk about Shazam. And I can't get into the specifics on that, but yeah, there's hope for Shazam."
Segal explained that humor was an important part of the Shazam movie he was helping to develop. "At its core, it's a lot like Superman. There's this boy trapped inside of a superhero's body. He's still a boy inside, so there's this opportunity to play a lot of humor with the action.
"These characters are flawed and, within those flaws, there is humor," Segal said. "When Toby Emmerich came to me with Shazam, it was because of those same reasons. To draw from that humor and to mix it with great action and pathos."
Segal, who was promoting the Sylvester Stallone/Robert DeNiro film Grudge Match, said he doesn't expect a Shazam film in the near future. "I've always loved Shazam, but I don't know if it's going to see the light of day anytime soon."