To say the casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice kicked the hornet’s nest – much like any major casting in a superhero movie, then – may be an understatement.
But gradually, The Social Network star has started to win over even the most stubborn of naysayers, and despite the fact Zack Snyder had initially intended for Eisenberg to play another part, the director now couldn’t imagine anyone else portraying the power-mongering megalomaniac.
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Citing his intense and indeed award-winning turn as Mark Zuckerberg in the David Fincher drama, Snyder spoke to Empire recently about the qualities that Eisenberg can bring to such an iconic DC villain.
“Just from a pop-cultural viewpoint you can’t pretend the movie doesn’t exist. Because he has played Mark Zuckerberg, Jesse represents a very contemporary sort of business model. In the sort of post-dotcom world where fortunes can be made from your basement, it is not hard to image Jesse-as-Lex being as powerful as he is.”
As for Eisenberg’s take on the part, he championed the way in which the character was written – part dramatic intensity, part psychological. Through time, Luthor proved to be exactly the kind of complex character that the actor relishes, and here he teases that clash between intellect and insanity.
“It was written in a way I would say dovetails with my skills, it was written with a real psychological underpinning, it was written with a kind of humor that I knew I could do. And with a dramatic intensity that I enjoy. If there are some surface similarities to another role, an audience will tend to see that. An actor won’t. He uses wordplay and very clever allusions to other stories and myths, but it never compromises what is scary about him… He is the guy who won’t sleep to get something done.”
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will swoop into theaters on March 25.