'Shazam!': Mark Strong in Talks for Villain Role

The actor would play longtime arch-nemesis Doctor Sivana.

Mark Strong is readying a return to the DC universe.

The actor is in early talks to join Shazam! in a villain role, The Hollywood Reporter has confirmed. He would play Doctor Sivana in the film, which stars Zachary Levi as the hero Captain Marvel. 

David F. Sandberg is directing Shazam! for New Line Cinema. The film follows a boy named Billy Batson, who can transform into an adult superhero by uttering the magic word "Shazam!" The name is an acronym of the ancient world gods and historical figures Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles and Mercury, from which Batson derives his heroic attributes when in adult form.

As for his Shazam character, Thaddeus Sivana — Dr. Sivana, if you're nasty — is Shazam's longtime arch-nemesis, debuting alongside the hero in 1940's Whiz Comics No. 2. The archetypal mad scientist, Sivana has traditionally been portrayed as one of the smartest men alive, but one given to squandering his gifts on ridiculous inventions that no-one could understand, turning him bitter, twisted and eager to do the wrong thing as long as it helped him out. Unusually, he's often helped in his bad deeds by his family, which includes ex-wife Venus and children Magnificus, Beautia, Georgia and Thaddeus Jr. (Apparently, his genius didn't extend to naming children.)

Strong previously starred in 2011's Green Lantern, playing the classic DC villain Sinestro, and has strong comic book credentials, having played the villain in 2010's Kick-Ass and also having roles in 2015's Kingsman: The Secret Service and September's Kingsman: The Golden Circle

Shazam! is eyeing a February start date in Toronto. The film is being developed concurrently with a project focusing on Shazam! villain Black Adam to star Dwayne Johnson.

Strong is repped by Markham, Froggatt and WME.