Before taking her place in the DCU's upcoming movie, Shazam! Fury of the Gods, star Rachel Zegler was rejected for a bigger role in the franchise.
Shazam 2 features Zegler alongside a number of other exciting DCU newcomers, most notably Helen Mirren and Lucy Liu, as the West Side Story standout helps to bring the never-before-seen Daughters of Atlas to the big screen.
Set images even teased that Zegler's character will have an unexpected romance with Jack Dylan Grazer's Freddy Freeman, giving her character a complicated nature as the actress takes her place in the DCU.
While Zegler's role in the sequel will certainly be an exciting one, she previously had the opportunity to audition for another highly coveted part debuting in one of DC's other big 2023 movies.
Rachel Zegler Turned Down for DC Role
Speaking with SlashFilm, Shazam! Fury of the Gods star Rachel Zegler revealed that DC rejected her for a different role in the DC Universe before she took on the character Anthea.
When asked about her audition process, she looked back to her time trying out for West Side Story, for which she had to go in for nine separate auditions for 20th Century Studios:
"Oh gosh, it was so fast. I auditioned for 'West Side Story' for a year. They really kept me on the edge of my seat for a year. I sweat out my entire junior year, so it was horrible. Borderline abuse, at that point, for actors, that anybody who has done it knows, having you go in nine times for something is torture."
Zegler then revealed that she had auditioned for the role of Supergirl in The Flash, which eventually went to Sasha Calle, although, after she didn't get the part, casting director Rich Delia let her know about a chance for a role in Shazam 2:
"So then with this one, I booked them a month and a half, and I was like, 'Is this what it’s like? Is it supposed to be like this?' And my agents were like, 'Yeah.' But no, I read for Rich [Delia], who was our casting director, and he originally had come to me with Supergirl for '[The] Flash,' and I was not right for it. He was like, 'You know what, I’ve got a character in mind for you for ‘Shazam.’ They’re looking at X, Y, Z. We would love it if you came in and read.'"
Later, she had a readthrough on Zoom with director David Sandberg before doing a chemistry read with Freddie Freeman star Jack Dylan Grazer, who reportedly was the one that picked Zegler for the role after chatting with producer Peter Safran:
"So I read on Zoom. Obviously, the era of Zoom is isolation, pandemic era. Then I went back in, and I read for David Sandberg, and then for the last time, I had a chemistry read with Jack Dylan Grazer. The story goes that Jack picked me. That Peter Safran, our producer, turned to him and was like, 'Which one did you like the best, Jack?' and he said, 'Well, she’s Maria in ‘West Side Story,’ so we got to have her.' Because Jack is a very big 'West Side Story' fan. Jack loves 'West Side Story.' So I have him to thank, really."
Zegler Still Shining in DC Universe
After rising to superstardom in West Side Story, Rachel Zegler seems to be on her way to a number of huge roles in some of the biggest projects in the industry. This has already come to fruition with a leading role in Disney's reboot of Snow White, although Shazam 2 is just as high-profile being in the superhero movie universe.
It's no surprise that Zegler was in the running for Supergirl, even though Sasha Calle will end up playing the role in The Flash, as the West Side Story star has shown off plenty of talent and drive in the last couple of years.
Now, Zegler will have her chance for DC glory in Shazam 2, delivering a seemingly complicated character that will have an interesting relationship with the Shazam family. And with the entire DCU going through major changes under new DC Studios co-CEOs James Gunn and Peter Safran, fans will be anxious to see if she has a chance to move forward to new places with this role.
Shazam! Fury of the Gods is set to release in theaters on Friday, March 17.