There were many suggestions for Lex Luthor on the Internet as it was nearly a certainty that Batman Vs. Superman would cast Lex Luthor, even if it was only a cameo. And they have! And it’s Jesse Eisenberg!
Seriously! Apparently The Hollywood Reporter is not pranking us!
A quick recap, for those who haven’t heard. Eisenberg has indeed been cast as Lex, according to the Hollywood Reporter:
“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said in a statement. …Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
We guess that’s one way of putting it. Most aggravating is that this is paired with some quite good casting, namely Jeremy Irons taking on the role of Alfred. And this is not a knock against Eisenberg, who is undeniably a talented actor, even if it took him a while to break out of the perception he was a Michael Cera clone.
But he’s going to have to change his acting style completely to remotely make this work. Lex Luthor is not a role that caters to underplaying. He’s a mad scientist crossed with a ruthless businessman. He’s the worst kind of arrogant person: The one who’s actually got the skills to back up his big mouth and the charisma to make you listen. That’s why he hates Superman so much; Luthor has always been the most powerful and magnetic man in the room…until that damn alien showed up.
In other words, it’s not a role where you cast it because the actor plays well with whatever “sector” you think your movie needs to appeal to, have him shave his head and call it a day. Unlike a lot of people, I enjoyed Man Of Steel, bar a few minor tonal missteps. And again, Eisenberg isn’t some pretty face, and we won’t know whether he’ll pull it off until we see some trailers.
But this feels, a lot, like a decision made on star power instead of suitability for the role. When we start seeing trailers next year, we’ll know for sure.
(Image courtesy of adrants on Flickr.)