Simultaneously, in 2007, New Line Cinema hired John August to write SHAZAM. His draft had a fun and lighthearted tone, with street orphan Billy Batson being chosen as the new champion of the wizard Shazam and becoming the mighty Captain Marvel, who has to protect the world from the wizard's wayward fallen champion Black Adam after he escapes from a centuries-long confinement. The script featured several staples of the comics including Mary Bromfield and Freddy Freeman as Billy's friends, Uncle Dudly as a cheerful vagrant who looks out for Billy on the streets, Talky-Tawny as the wizard's pet and guardian of the Rock of Eternity, and a brief appearance by Dr. Sivana, setting up a potential sequel.
Peter Segal was set to direct the movie, with Dwayne Johnson as Black Adam and Brandon Molale in talks to play Captain Marvel, when New Line was acquired by WB in 2008. High off the heels of the box office success of THE DARK KNIGHT and the disappointing performance of the similarly-toned SPEED RACER, WB pushed for a darker and edgier movie titled BILLY BATSON AND THE POWER OF SHAZAM, with Billy reimagined as a teenager and Black Adam as a bloodthisty conqueror. August departed the project due to creative differences, and WB soon pulled the plug on the whole thing for not being what they were looking for in a superhero movie at the time.
Johnson remained interested, however, so much he is now producing the movie under his own production company and still attached as Black Adam for the DCEU.