Just when you thought Warner Bros. couldn’t shock you anymore after choosing Ben Affleck as Batman for their forthcoming Man of Steel sequel, the studio announced Jesse Eisenberg will portray Lex Luthor in the potential blockbuster.
“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” director Zac Snyder said in a statement. “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 will allow us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
Eisenberg is an intriguing choice. Although he’s an impressive actor, it’s hard to imagine him as such a villainous character. Can he strike fear in anyone, let alone an otherworldly superhero? It could work! In movies like The Social Network and Now You See Me, Eisenberg has exuded both quiet arrogance and charm. He could prevent Luthor from coming off as a caricature. However, he will have big shoes to fill. The role was previously played hy Hollywood heavyhitters Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey.
In the statement announcing Eisenberg, WB also revealed that Jeremy Irons will take over the role of Bruce Wayne’s butler Alfred from fellow British actor Michael Caine. The move is far less controversial, and Snyder called it an “honor” to have the opportunity to work with the award-winning actor.
Eisenberg and Irons join a cast that includes Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane. Batman vs. Superman is slated to hit theaters May 6, 2016.