One of the more surprising casting choices for the upcoming DC Comics team-up film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the choice of actor Jesse Eisenberg (Zombieland, The Social Network) to play Lex Luthor: one of the most definitive and formidable villains in the DC Comics Universe. Luthor is a fascinating character in the comics because he largely sees himself as the triumph of human ingenuity when directly compared to the “threat” his arch nemesis, Superman, represents for humanity: Luthor sees Superman as a dangerous alien that could put us all under his heel if he wanted to, and Luthor himself, according to him, is the singular key to humanity’s salvation from the alien foe.
Eisenberg’s casting as Luthor is surprising, especially to comics fans, because its a pretty singular departure from how we’ve seen Luthor portrayed in other media before. Eisenberg joins a legacy of actors that include Lyle Talbot from the days of the Columbia serials, Gene Hackman from the Christopher Reeve films, Kevin Spacey from 2006’s Superman Returns, Michael Rosenbaum from “Smallville,” and even actors like Clancy Brown and James Marsters who gave the character’s voice some distinctive life in animation. Eisenberg’s relative youth and more soft-spoken demeanor seem to indicate a very different Lex Luthor, and apparently, the actor is enjoying it.
When speaking with Variety about his new Sundance film The End of the Tour, Eisenberg was asked about playing Lex Luthor, and whether or not he could talk about his head being shaved, the actor (who was talking by phone at 1 o’clock in the morning his time from London) basically just said that the studio and creative team wants all of those details, including whether or not he has hair, to “be a surprise.” With rumors recently swirling about whether or not Eisenberg would be reprising the role of Luthor in a Superman sequel, or potentially David Ayer’s Suicide Squad, Eisenberg seemed receptive and enthusiastic about the idea because of the character, and his director (Zack Snyder): “I would love to. It’s a great group and director, and the most ideal character to play,” he said.
Eisenberg also quickly stated that he wasn’t a Superman fan growing up and had never seen the previous films until he was cast for this part, just to “understand the context of this one.” Man of Steel is likely the only technically relevant Superman film featuring the characters to the events of the film he was cast in, so this fan thinks it likely that the 2013 film is the only one he watched ahead of time. Hopefully, as DC Comics has been known to give a stack of comic books to the likes of Christan Bale and Henry Cavill (who both stated they found new appreciations for their characters after reading), they did the same for Eisenberg.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens in theaters on March 25th, 2016. For more on this and other DC Comics superhero films, keep an eye on GeekNation!
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