Rachel Zegler & Lucy Liu Discuss Dragon Riding 101 & Singing on Set
Mar 30, 2023
The newest additions to the DCEU are the mysterious Daughters of Atlas in the long-anticipated sequel, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, starring Zachary Levi. Looking to avenge their father’s stolen magic, these powerful Greek goddesses are portrayed by Helen Mirren as Hespera, and her two sisters Kalypso and Anthea, played by Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler. While promoting the sequel, Liu and Zegler, best known for the Charlie’s Angels franchise and Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story, respectively, sat down with Collider’s Steve Weintraub to talk about joining the DC universe.
In Fury of the Gods, Billy Batson (Asher Angel) and his foster family are struggling to adapt to their newly-gifted abilities. Unfortunately, these super siblings may have to get it together quickly, because a trio of ancient goddesses, the Daughters of Atlas, have come for the magic stolen from them centuries ago. Armed with a dragon and literal god-like powers, Earth and Shazam’s family are now caught in the crossfire between the “raging” goddesses and the kid superhero. Fury of the Gods also features returning cast members Adam Brody, Jack Dylan Grazer, Meagan Good, Grace Caroline Currey, Ross Butler, and D.J. Cotrona.
Before the movie hits theaters on March 17, Liu reveals the secret to flying dragons that she didn’t learn from Game of Thrones, and Zegler shares a few songs from Zachary Levi’s unofficial Shazam! playlist. They also discuss the singalongs on set, why David F. Sandberg was the perfect director to open up Shazam! to broader audiences, and why his style is similar to Spielberg’s filmmaking. You can check out the full interview in the video above, or read the full conversation below.
COLLIDER: First, let me start with congratulations.
RACHEL ZEGLER: Thank you.
Image via Warner Bros.
I definitely want to know, what is the secret for making a movie when you’re flying a dragon?
LUCY LIU: The secret is trusting your safety belt. [laughs] That is the first thing–
ZEGLER: And now you, too, can fly a dragon.
LIU: There’s also caution warnings. You know what? You’ve got to trust the team you’re working with. They did have this mechanism for the first time and it really worked out for the best because you needed a dragon to defeat the Shazamily, ultimately.
LIU: And unfortunately, your sisters don’t come along for the ride.
ZEGLER: Sorry, I fell in love.
LIU: So Kalypso has to call on Ladon to help her out because she is raging at that point. She’s pissed.
ZEGLER: It’s true. You were pretty pissed at that point.
Image via Warner Bros.
I definitely want to know, though, before you started filming did you watch any Game of Thrones just to see the way they did it, or were you sort of like, “We’re doing our own thing.”?
LIU: You know what? I could never compete with the Game of Thrones, so I didn’t.
ZEGLER: But they call you Khaleesi.
LIU: [laughs] Yeah, he calls me Khaleesi at one point. The goddesses are just different. We’re from a different world, we’re not zeitgeist-y enough to know about the Game of Thrones. But I’m a big fan of the show, and House of Dragons, and obviously that team is fantastic, but I mean, those are very different. My dragon is made out of wood. So, very different, not scales.
ZEGLER: Ha! Take that! [laughs]
So one thing I want to ask both of you is that Zach – unlike most sets, which can be a little bit, you know, run a certain way – Zach likes to play music before scenes–
ZEGLER: And between. In between every take.
Image via Warner Bros.
Right, so I’m curious, what was it like with Zach? Because it’s really a different energy when you’re playing music like that on set, and I’m curious if there were any singalongs.
ZEGLER: Tons of singalongs.
LIU: So many. Yeah, there’s a lot of dance-a-thon’s.
ZEGLER: Yeah, we danced a lot on that set.
LIU: There [were] a lot of -along’s and -a-thon’s.
ZEGLER: It was to keep us awake and happy and active.
LIU: It was happy. It was like everyone… I think his mix is always on, everyone knows the songs.
ZEGLER: He really just let Spotify go. He lets it just keep running
LIU: Is it Spotify?
ZEGLER: It is, I asked because I was like, “This is a great mix.”
LIU: Oh, smart.
ZEGLER: No, yeah, I feel like now I associate certain songs with–
LIU: With Zach?
ZEGLER: …that summer, like that shooting. “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat and SZA, and also that one song that’s like, “Sometimes all I think about is you, late nights…” He used to play that all the time.
LIU: It was on repeat.
ZEGLER: Yep, big boom box too.
Image via Warner Bros
One of the things I think (director) David [F. Sandberg] does so well is he’s able to manage the humor with the darkness. It’s violent at times, but it’s also like a family movie. It’s a very unique tone. Can you talk about that aspect of the film and how David, he’s very unique with this?
LIU: David has an incredible sense of humor, and he doesn’t always show it outwardly, but in his work you can see that. And he’s got such an imagination, and he does a lot of horror, so I think the combination makes a great mix. And Shazam!, you know, you don’t want to keep it just for this one group of people, and he sort of opened it up in the sequel to make it, I guess, for a broader audience. I mean that’s (writer) Henry Gayden, but also, you know, he can see that he knows what he wants when he’s directing.
ZEGLER: Yeah, and David really reminds me of just like old-school Amblin, Steven Spielberg stuff where it really is like familial issues and relations mixed in with these otherworldly fantastical settings. And so the fact that he’s able to just kind of effortlessly bring unicorns and dragons into a kid who’s scared of aging out of the foster system, it’s pretty amazing.
LIU: It’s poignant.
ZEGLER: And it doesn’t seem like it should make sense, but it does, and that’s the magic of David Sandberg. Ponysmasher! [laughs]
LIU: And also making comedy from awkwardness of people
ZEGLER: Of teenagers, too.
LIU: And of relationships, and they’re trying to find their way.
ZEGLER: I feel like it’s such an accurate depiction of – like Freddy, in particular, is such an accurate teenage depiction, and that comes from Jack [Dylan Grazer], and the awkwardness he’s able to bring to it.
LIU: Oh my gosh, there’s nobody like him.
ZEGLER: But it really is, it’s written so well, and then I think it’s something that everybody loves, everybody can relate to. There’s something for everybody in our movies.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is in theaters on March 17. You can check out Collider’s interview with Zachary Levi below.
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