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The Surprising Connection Between Disney-Pixar's Luca And Shazam! - Exclusive

On the surface, there may not seem to be much connection between Disney-Pixar's latest animated release "Luca" and the 2019 DC Comics superhero film "Shazam!" But dig a little deeper, and you'll notice they share one obvious characteristic: They both star Jack Dylan Grazer.

In "Shazam!", Grazer plays Freddy Freeman, the best friend and foster brother of 14-year-old Billy Batson (Asher Angel), who takes on an adult form (played by Zachary Levi) when he becomes the superhero Shazam. Freddy, who walks with a crutch, is a superhero fanatic who helps Billy navigate through his newfound powers — and eventually earns some of his own capabilities. (A "Shazam!" sequel, subtitled "Fury of the Gods," will be released on June 2, 2023.)

Meanwhile, in "Luca," which premieres today on Disney+, Grazer voices the title character's newfound best friend Alberto, a rambunctious free spirit with a knack for trouble. Together, Luca (voiced by Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto embark on a summer adventure in the Italian Riviera while hiding a big secret: They're actually sea monsters.

Despite the two films being on opposite ends of the spectrum, "Luca" and "Shazam!" have a surprising connection beyond employing Grazer. And in an exclusive interview with Looper, the 17-year-old actor connected the dots between his character in "Luca" and his character in "Shazam!" Here's what he had to say.

Jack Dylan Grazer believes both his Luca and Shazam! characters have 'a lot of charisma'

When asked to reflect upon his characters in "Luca" and "Shazam!", Grazer — who also played young Eddie Kaspbrak in the recent "It" remakes — had an epiphany.

"You know something, I'm kind of thinking maybe Freddy Freeman and Alberto Scorfano aren't too different," he said. "I mean, obviously, Freddy Freeman can't jump from a cliff because he's on a crutch, but they're both very confident and they both have a lot of charisma, and their sense of humor is great. And they both think very highly of themselves despite their insecurities, which is funny."

But from Grazer's perspective, that's not the only link that exists between the two characters. With his starring roles in "Luca" and "Shazam!", he now has the distinct privilege of being part of both the Disney Universe and the DC Extended Universe. It's an achievement that's not lost on the young actor.

"Comparing being in a Disney-Pixar film to being a part of the DCEU is pretty similar, because they both have such long legacies and I grew up idolizing both," noted Grazer. "All of these things that are happening to me — it's unfathomable. I would have never dreamed of these things. I'm so full of gratitude."

"Luca" premieres on Disney+ today, June 18.