Jesse Eisenberg Cast as Lex Luthor in ‘Batman vs. Superman’, Jeremy Irons to Play Alfred

By January 31, 2014
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Did you want Heisenberg as Lex Luthor? Well, it looks like you got Eisenberg instead. Warner Bros. just released a press release that revealed the huge news that The Social Network star Jesse Eisenberg has been cast in the role of Superman’s most iconic villain in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, and that veteran actor Jeremy Irons has been cast as Alfred alongside Ben Affleck’s Batman.

Here’s what director Zack Snyder had to say about Eisenberg’s casting:

Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.

As for Irons, Snyder referred to the part of Alfred Pennyworth as “an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

While Eisenberg’s name hasn’t shown up on any fanboy wishlists for the role of Lex Luthor, I totally see where Snyder and his team are coming from casting him. We’ve already seen him play a cold, calculating human being as Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s The Social Network, and he also has the capacity to captivate a room, as seen in Now You See Me. I’ve always found Eisenberg to be a bit unnerving as an actor – there’s something…off about him, and I can’t quite put my finger on it – and I think that indescribable quality will absolutely play to his advantage as Lex Luthor. It’s pretty easy to imagine him as a spoiled billionaire who tries to out-scheme Henry Cavill’s Superman, and if he’s allowed to occasionally chew some scenery instead of playing the character 100% deadly serious the entire time, he could end up being one of the more enjoyable parts of the film.

Jeremy Irons

On the Batman side of the equation, Irons seems like a natural choice for the next Alfred, and a worthy follow-up to Michael Caine’s take on the role in Nolan’s trilogy. This is perfect casting. While I can easily see some fans getting up in arms about Eisenberg as Luthor (“he’s not bald!”, they’ll likely shout), I don’t foresee anyone getting riled up about Irons as Bruce Wayne’s trusty confidant.

The still-untitled Batman vs. Superman movie will definitely be on everyone’s minds until it debuts on its new release date of May 6th, 2016, but we want to hear what you think about this casting. Sound off in the comments and let us know!

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at ScreenRant.com, FirstShowing.net, MySpace.com, GeekTyrant.com, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • Prilder90

    Amazing choice. This is on the level of Heath Ledger as Joker. Big backlash at the time, but amazing choice of talent and creativeness. The final result will be just like Heath, you won’t be able to see anyone else once its done.

    • It definitely has that feeling. Hopefully he can live up to expectations!

  • kennethrpe45

    I love these casting choices!!

  • jennifer341

    Bryan Cranston would have been perfect for Lex Luthor.

  • jathy4562

    Oh, man. This is going be amazing. Amazingly good or bad I can’t say, but amazing all the same.

    • I think you’re spot-on with this assessment. I don’t think it’ll be middle of the road – either fantastic, or a train wreck.

  • Sh Nomaan

    I like Jesse Eisenberg. He is a good actor but I don`t know how he is gonna be as Lex Luthor. We`ll see!

  • Alan Jackson

    Lex Luthor is a great character…I believe Jesse Eisenberg will play it well.