Jesse Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor in ‘Man of Steel’ sequel

Batman vs. Superman…vs. Jesse Eisenberg?

That’s how the “Man of Steel” sequel (commonly known as “Batman vs. Superman”) is shaping up to be, as the “Social Network” star has been revealed to be Warner Bros.’ choice to play Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor in the sequel.

The Studio has also revealed that Oscar winner Jeremy Irons (“Reversal of Fortune”) will play Alfred Pennyworth.

They join Henry Cavill, who is reprising his role as Superman, while Ben Affleck will play Batman, and Gal Gadot will fill the boots of  Wonder Woman. “Man of Steel” co-stars Amy Adams (Lois Lane) and Laurence Fishburne (Perry White) are also returning.

The news of Eisenberg’s casting comes as somewhat of a surprise, since previous rumors have included older actors such as “Breaking Bad” star Bryan Cranston and “Low Winter Sun’s” Mark Strong (both of whom have comfortably rocked bald heads on films). Joaquin Phoenix was also in the rumor mill at one point. 

“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,” Snyder explained in a press release. “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.” 

The director also commented on Irons’ casting. “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne”s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure,” said Snyder. “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.”

Luthor was played by Gene Hackman in four films, starting with 1978’s “Superman: The Movie.” Kevin Spacey played the role in 2006’s “Superman Returns.”

Alfred was previously by Michael Caine in the “Dark Knight” trilogy, and by Michael Gough in the Tim Burton and Joel Schumacher films

“Man of Steel” earned over $668 million in 2013. 

Eisenberg was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” He was recently seen in last summer’s surprise hit “Now You See Me,” and will star in the sequel “Now You See Me Again,” as well as provide a voice for the animated film “Rio 2.”

“Man of Steel 2” will fly into theaters May 6, 2016.

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