Adam Brody talks 'Shazam,' playing Leighton Meester's enemy

Adam Brody poses for a portrait to promote the film "Shazam! Fury of the Gods" at The London Hotel in West Hollywood, Calif., on Monday, Feb. 27, 2023. (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP)

LONDON (AP) — For Adam Brody, donning the padded superhero suit in "Shazam!" and its sequel is a dream come true.

"I always wanted to play a superhero. I grew up reading comics," the actor recalled in a recent interview. "I wanted to just be in something of that size and scale too, to be on a set that big, to be in outfits that take that long to kind of make and put on."

He described "Shazam! Fury of the Gods," out Friday, as "just a real full-scale Cecil B. DeMille-sized movie."

The film revolves around a group of foster siblings who juggle being teenagers and adult superheroes. Brody plays the adult version of a geeky and awkward character, but the actor reveals he was a "beach bum" in high school.

"I was kind of a jock, actually," smiles Brody. "In any way that surfers are jocks."

During those teenage years, before leaving his hometown in San Diego, California, Brody worked at a Blockbuster video rental store. Add that to his decadeslong long acting career and you could say the 43-year-old is kind of a movie expert.

"I have opinions, but you know, I'm not a Tarantino. I don't have encyclopedic knowledge of all films," he's quick to specify. though.

In the last few years, his movie knowledge has expanded into child-friendly territory. Brody has two children with his wife, actor Leighton Meester.


"As many good ones as you think there are, there's not enough. So hard to come by," says Brody about kids' movies, which he says is "where values and the lessons really come into play and you want to ideally make sure what they're viewing is nutritious."

While Brody's filmography does not include any children's movies at the moment, he says it's a category he would like to try.

"I'm a fan of all genres. There's not a genre I wouldn't do or want to do, but I look for cleverness in the writing and potentially depth, too and a voice, a strong POV — point of view," he says.

He further explains he looks for intelligent scripts that put out something positive into the world and don't "glorify anything too negative."

"It doesn't all have to be a life lesson," he says. "But the smarter the project is, probably the less it does. You know, I think a lot of the bad stuff that Hollywood puts out is unconscious more than conscious and the deeper someone's thinking about their work, probably the more positive or enlightening it can be."

Last summer, Brody wrapped filming on a reimagining of the famous 1994 thriller "The River Wild," originally starring Meryl Streep and David Strathairn as a couple on a rafting trip gone wrong.

"You know, we still got a river involved," he says. "And it's similarly a hostage situation on the river and a race to get to Canada but that's sort of where the similarities end. It's new characters."

This time around the story is about two siblings, played by Taran Killam and Meester, embarking on a trip with an old friend (Brody), who will soon reveal a dangerous side. The film is due out later this year.

This is not the first time Brody has worked with his wife — Killam, Meester and Brody played three points of a love triangle in the sitcom "Single Parents" just three years ago — but the script made him think twice.

"This one was interesting because we're antagonists. And so, I'm chasing her for a fair amount of the movie, chasing her and worse," Brody says. "And I was worried initially, and it wasn't something I was looking to do exactly. We want to work together but we weren't like dying to play enemies."

"I had a little concern that, like, 'What if we take this home with us? What if it feels too bad to look at her in this way?'" he continues. "But your adrenaline's up on set, and it worked fine."

He says it was the "most demanding" project he has ever worked on, as an actor and as a parent.

"The hardest part in a way, was because Leighton and I were sort of in every scene, normally we're not working at the exact same time, so we brought our kids," but he nonetheless characterized it as "a great adventure for the whole family."

In fact, Brody shares that he wouldn't be surprised if his children caught the acting bug as well: "It's a fun job."