Shirking nearly every other casting rumor to come out concerning the part, Warner Bros. has announced that Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) will play the villainous Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. In a somewhat less controversial movie, the studio also announced that Jeremy Irons (The Borgias) would be stepping into the well-worn shoes of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s trusty butler and confidant.
Broken by Deadline, the news comes hot on the heels of Warner Bros.’ recent announcement that it was holding the movie until 2016. The question of who would play Lex Luthor has been a hot-button topic since the announcement of Man of Steel sequel at last year’s San Diego Comic-Con. Although there was never nothing official to say that the villain would appear in the film, it has long been presumed that Superman’s greatest foe would be the bad guy for the next movie. Before the announcement of Eisenberg’s casting today, a wide range of actors including Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad), Terry O’Quinn (Lost) and Joaquin Phoenix (Her) were rumored to be considered for the part.
If you think the guy who played Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network and an isolated loner in Zombieland is an odd choice to play the man who plagues Superman’s existence, Man of Steel director Zack Snyder agrees with you.
“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder explained in a press release. “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 casting Irons as Alfred, Snyder points out the role’s importance and the need to have an actor of a certain gravitas to play him.
“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,” said Snyder. “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.”
Eisenberg and Irons will join a cast that includes returning talent like Henry Cavill (Superman), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) and Diane Lane (Martha Kent), as well as the previously cast Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman) and Ben Affleck (Batman).
Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters everywhere on May 6th, 2016.