Easily one of the most prominent and renowned guests of the entire convention, Zachary Levi, best known for his work on the recent superhero flick Shazam!, made his way through thunderous applause to star in a panel this past Sunday at Dragon-Con 2019. Marking somewhat of a tradition for the acclaimed actor, he single-handedly hosted and moderated the entire panel, answering questions ranging from politically challenging themes to sweet moments of sheer fandom. Highlighting his trademark charisma at every turn, attendees were both charmed and spelled by how Levi successfully answered each question, turning seemingly even the simplest of questions into fully-fledged discussion about his career and even mental health. At least over a hundred attendees made their way into Hyatt Centennial II Ballroom for the highly anticipated panel, and that same countless number of attendees left excited and chuckling.
Fans queued up in an expansive line to ask the Broadway, TV, and film actor some of their most hard-pressing questions. Below is a documented transcript of just some of the highlights.
Anonymous Fan: If you were to come to a convention, what would your top three cosplay costumes be?
Zachary Levi: If I were to come to a convention or succumb to a convention? [Laughter] Because that’s what I heard. I’m pretty sure that’s what I heard. You know, I’ve never really been a big cosplayer, not that I have any issues with it what so ever. I think it’s beautiful and an incredible expression of one’s soul and you can get super artistic, but for me, I think it’s because I’ve never been practically artistic. I’m the type of person who will start drawing something and then think that’s garbage and then just throw it away. I hate what I am doing physically and I’ve never been crafty. I’ve never known how to sow; I’m not very good with the glue gun. [Laughter] And the pressure I put on myself for it to be the best costume ever. Is there anyone else when Halloween comes that you get crazy anxiety? When you go to the parties and you know you really want to be in the dopiest outfit because there’s nothing worse than walking into a Halloween party and they just say “oh.” [Laughter] Like I toiled over this, I would just walk out in shame which I why I’ve given up on Halloween. Like a while ago, a couple of us got together and said “hey, we’re going to dress up as the characters from Ferris Bueller.” I said yes; I’ll be Ferris and I was, but somebody helped organize that and find all the stuff and the costumes. So as long as someone finds the stuff for me, I’ll dress up in whatever you want. So I don’t know what I would personally cosplay as.
Anonymous Fan #2: You’ve been in this industry for so long, so how do you stay grounded?
Zachary Levi: I endeavor to be the best me that I can be, and I think the only way that you can be the best that you can be is to genuinely love yourself. That’s something I didn’t know how to do and it was also something I didn’t know I wasn’t doing for thirty-seven years. And about two years ago, I went to life-changing therapy and I learned how to love myself. And through loving myself, [Applause] that’s right. We all need to be doing it. If you think you’re doing it, you might be doing it; I don’t know if you’re doing it. Ask yourself one simple question when you mess up how do you talk to yourself. Do you berate yourself like I did? And I learned that from my parents who learned it from their parents and they learned it from their parents, and we have to stop it. We have to stop the generational garbage that’s being handed down into our lives, and we can do that because we can forgive our parents and we can forgive our grandparents because they didn’t know any better and we don’t know any better. That doesn’t absolve us from when we do dumb things, don’t do that, but love yourself through it and love others as well. For me, ever since I was a little kid, I loved people. I think God gave me a really cool and big reservoir of empathy. For example, I remember watching Life Goes On. [Applause]
I can’t remember which year it was, but I was a kid, I was around seven or something. And I have vivid memories that the show had an actor with down syndrome and it was on prime television. And everyone knows anyone with down syndrome knows that they are angels on Earth. [Applause] They are literally just love; they do nothing but love you; there’s no vile; there’s no deceit; they just want to hug you, and they do it because they genuinely love you, and they love being loved. And as a little kid, I could sense even then, despite not knowing anyone with Down syndrome, that this character would go to school and everyone would look down on him even though he only came to love. And I lost it. I started weeping ugly, ugly tears which I don’t do often. I was crying so hard that my mom had to bring me in the other room because I was completely disturbing everyone else in the house. And I told them that it’s not fair. It’s not fair. It’s not fair. I couldn’t take it. Fast-forward to when I watched Forrest Gump which I think is one of the greatest movies ever made. [Applause] And I’m watching Forrest Gump when I was like fourteen or something, and we were on vacation in this place called Lake Toho and we stopped at this theater to watch Forrest Gump. And Forrest Gump had no deceit in him even when people were insulting him and ridiculing him and tearing him and he would come back with only love. I’m watching this movie and really wanting this guy to actually be real and everything that happened to be reality because he meant an example of pure love. And then the moment when he finds out that he’s got a son at Jenny’s place.
And this guy that everyone thought was so clueless and not aware or doesn’t understanding things, and the very first thing that he does is start bawling. And then he asks Jenny “Is he like me?” I was wrecked; I was wrecked. From that moment to the end of the movie, I started crying the ugly tears again until the entire theater was just staring at me and thinking “man, what is wrong with this family?” And I just kept looking at this guy and thinking “man, I wish he was real.”
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