Grace Caroline Currey: ‘Fall’ was excellent training for ‘Shazam!’ sequel stunts


"Shazam! Fury of the Gods" opens in theaters Friday. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Shazam! Fury of the Gods” opens in theaters Friday. Photo courtesy of Warner Bros.

NEW YORK, March 16 (UPI) — Grace Caroline Currey says playing a climber stuck at the top of a dilapidated TV tower in survival thriller Fall turned her into an adrenaline junkie, so she was more than ready for her next job portraying a flying, fighting superhero in the action-comedy, Shazam! Fury of the Gods.

“When they handed me the harness, I didn’t bat an eye because I spent a whole movie in one of those,” Currey told UPI in a recent phone interview about the equipment she wore to execute her many stunts.

“Any element of feeling at home and comfortable is good because it is just such a big movie, you could get intimidated very easily,” she said about Fury of the Gods. “I love a challenge. I love a role that I have to physically prepare for.”

The 2019 blockbuster Shazam followed troubled high school student Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who is transformed into the titular adult superhero (Zachary Levi) with extraordinary, but difficult to manage, abilities — the result of a spell by a powerful wizard (Djimon Hounsou).

At the end of the film, Billy shares his talents with his teen foster siblings Freddy (Jack Dylan Grazer), Eugene (Ian Chen), Darla (Faithe Herman) and Pedro (Jovan Armand), to vanquish the embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sins and their leader, the fiendish Dr. Thaddeus Sivana (Mark Strong).

Adam Brody, Ross Butler, Meagan Good and DJ Crotona depict the kid characters in their adult forms in Fury of the Gods, while Currey plays the only incarnation of college-bound Mary in the sequel.

In theaters Friday, the DC Comics adaptation shows the family banding together to save the world in their first collective superhero quest — taking on the malevolent goddesses played by Helen Mirren, Lucy Liu and Rachel Zegler.

“While the first one kind of establishes Billy’s origin story and his relationship to his family, we actually get to go on an adventure as a group in the second one and encounter the Daughters of Atlas and these wild mythological creatures — and the world is at stake,” Currey said.

The actress described her character, the oldest sibling in the foster family, as the “adult of the group.”

“She’s technically no longer in the foster system, but she’s decided not to go to college. She’s still home. It’s like she’s taking a gap year. Not only that, but she has superpowers [and needs] to figure out how that fits into her life,” Currey said.

Mary is the brains of the outfit and the Wisdom of Solomon that she has been gifted has given her “a boost,” she added.

“She’s got the whole mixture that Shazam has. She’s got speed, she’s got flight, she’s got lightning. She’s got all the strength and all the powers,” Currey said. “And, oh, my God, does she have common sense and she is always the voice of reason.”

Woven into the original Shazam and its follow-up are powerful messages about creating and sustaining a family, even if no one in it is blood-related.

“It’s a choice to love and adopt each member in. There’s a lot of love in these movies and [characters] rooting for each other and unity amongst this family,” Currey said. “They have to be unified to go up against the Daughters of Atlas.”

The five-year gap between the two movies meant that some of the younger members of the cast have experienced noticeable physical changes.

“Jack and I were just shocked. The first couple of days on set, primarily, it was just Jack and I trying to adjust to Ian turning into more of a man,” she said of Chen, who was taller and had a deeper voice when he returned for the second movie.

“Even on the first one, when we went back to do some reshoots, they had to put me on a quarter-inch apple box because the kids had grown,” she laughed. “I’m done growing, but they continue to grow so they needed to match the height.”

Currey previously worked with Sandberg on the 2017 movie, Annabelle: Creation, and she said the demonic doll, which has had cameos in both Shazam movies, always will have a special place in her heart.

“It’s so fun. It’s expected. She’s got to be there and David’s so clever with it. He’s always cracking me up with his Twitter or Instagram. He is the king of Easter egg humor,” she said.

“That’s where I first worked with David Sandberg and Peter Safran when I was 18,” she added of Annabelle. “So much of my working dynamic with David was established on that set. We got to be collaborative and I got to bring ideas to the table.”

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