Pick your jaw up off the floor. You ready? Let’s go.
When Bryan Cranston shot down the rumors that he’d be Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder‘s Man of Steel sequel, never in a million years did we think a few weeks later we’d heard that Jesse Eisenberg had gotten the role. But it’s so. Says Snyder:
“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.”
And the role of Alfred has gone to Profion from Dungeons & Dragon Jeremy Irons. Zach, explain this one:
“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is 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.”
I’m a bit iffy on that last one, if only because Alfred’s generally a pretty unassuming character, and I can’t think of a Jeremy Irons performance where there isn’t some level of scenery-chewing involved. And “scenery-chewing” and “Alfred Pennyworth” just don’t go together. But. He is a good actor. And for all that the majority of people who saw Man of Steel, myself included, weren’t exactly wowed by it, one problem that it absolutely didn’t have was casting. Amy Adams! Henry Cavill! Kevin Costner! Excellent decisions all around.
And Eisenberg… I may be in the minority here, but I’m cautiously optimistic. As soon as this news hit my brain went “MARK ZUCKERBERG AS LEX LUTHOR??!?!” (And yeah, that’s only one character Eisenberg played, but he tends to do variations on that same bitter-narcissistic-nerd-with-limited-social-skills type). It’s weird, and I love weird casting decisions (love love love them), so I’m intrigued. Yeah, he’s younger than your typical Lex, but one of the biggest problems I personally had with Man of Steel is that I thought it was pretty dull, so if Snyder wants to mix the sequel up a bit, I’m all for that.
But I don’t read comics, so I have no investment in any particular interpretation of Lex’s character. My angle is that I want to see interesting movies, and I know a lot of you are coming at it from a comics perspective. So hash it out in the comments, if you wish. Do you like the actors but are concerned about the characters they’re playing? Do you like the casting but don’t care because you’ve resigned yourself to the fact that you probably won’t like Man of Steel 2, whatever it ends up being called? Or did you like Man of Steel, and you’re excited by the news (except maybe Jeremy Irons as Lex might’ve been nice)? Do you not care and wish they’d announce a Wonder Woman standalone already?