Warner Bros. today confirmed major casting news for Zack Snyder’s Batman-Superman movie, confirming via release that Jesse Eisenberg will play super-villain Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Bruce Wayne’s trusty valet, Alfred.
The release can be read here, with a statement from Snyder. The director states:
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."
It’s hard to have a Superman movie without Luthor, and Eisenberg will try to step into massive shoes previous occupied by the brilliant Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey… who was underrated in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns.
Eisenberg is a surprise. He leaps ahead of names like Bryan Cranston (a Warner Bros. player who might have only been in the running because he shaved his head for Breaking Bad) and Joaquin Phoenix, who were rumored to be up for the lead villain… though nothing was ever confirmed.
Is he a good choice? At age 30, he strikes us as very young to be playing a super villain. But he has that droll, inherent menace that should lead to the creation of an ideal counterpart to Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel. It continues this narrative that Ben Affleck (41) is playing an older, grizzled Bruce Wayne. Even at 41, though, I’m sure Snyder is going to play Affleck as older.
Irons, meanwhile, feels like an afterthought, though Alfred could be an important addition to this ensemble. But the focus of this story falls on Eisenberg, and how he’ll play off of Cavill, Affleck and the Man of Steel crew. This clip in Now You See Me kind of convinces me that he can nail this. What are your thoughts?