Adam Driver and Joaquin Phoenix Were Considered for the Role of Lex Luthor in BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN

by     Posted 261 days ago

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Last week, we learned that Jesse Eisenberg had been cast as Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder‘s Batman vs. Superman, and the news was met with a positive reaction.  People could see the actor who played Mark Zuckerberg slipping into the role of another arrogant, egotistical, monomaniacal character (this is presuming, of course, we’re going to see the same kind of Luthor from the comics).  However, he wasn’t the only one considered for the role, and a couple of previously mentioned actors may have made for more controversial choices.

Hit the jump for more.  The film also stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, and Laurence FishburneBatman vs. Superman (tentative title) opens May 6, 2016.

joaquin phoenix-the masterA couple months ago, we reported that the production wanted Joaquin Phoenix for a “key role”, which was believed to be the villain, and while some sources said it was specifically Lex Luthor, there was no confirmation on that front.  Three months ago, there was the rumor that Adam Driver was being sought to play Nightwing (in the comics, Nightwing was the alter-ego of Dick Grayson, a.k.a. Robin, who decided to go it alone when he got older).

According to THR, both actors were being sought to play Lex Luthor.  Driver was approached, but he had a scheduling conflict, and Phoenix chose to pass on the part.  Warner Bros. was looking for someone who could play Superman’s contemporary, which has been a recent trend in the comics with Luthor being a childhood friend of the Man of Steel.  Previously, the role was played by older actors, Gene Hackman (48 at the time) and Kevin Spacey, who was 46 when Superman Returns came out in 2006.  Cavill is currently 30 and so are Eisenberg and Driver.  Phoenix is a bit of an odd choice since he’s 39, but that’s still not as drastic an age difference as Hackman and Spacey.

Rather than “casting a wide net with plenty of auditions”, Snyder has a short list of actors he wants, and it remains to be seen how many more roles he has left to fill.  There’s been word of Jason Momoa and Callan Mulvey (300: Rise of an Empire) being courted for and unspecified role as well as the rumor of a second villain.  The production is remaining tight-lipped to the point where they won’t even say if Luthor will be bald, which isn’t too crazy when you remember that he original had a mop of red hair.

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  • Christian

    Phoenix would have been perfect. I don’t think the reaction to Eisenberg has been particularly positive.

    • Dev1359

      Man, Phoenix opposite Cavill would have been so awesome. Imagine the antagonism between Commodus and his cheering Coliseum crowd vs. Maximus in Gladiator translated to a DC film in the form of Lex Luthor and the people of Metropolis vs. Superman. Sucks that he chose to pass on the role.

    • Dev1359

      Man, Phoenix opposite Cavill would have been so awesome. Imagine the antagonism between Commodus and his cheering Coliseum crowd vs. Maximus in Gladiator translated to a DC film in the form of Lex Luthor and the people of Metropolis vs. Superman. Sucks that he chose to pass on the role.

    • Tom

      I must agree despite I quite like all casting decision to “Batman vs. Superman”.

    • lordjim

      to use phoenix for a zack snyder superman movie would come pretty close to using orson welles for the transformers cartoon (well he really needed the money).

    • -

      Yeah, I don’t see how that would have been controversial. The guy’s one of the best actors around, and he killed it in Gladiator (which is probably what the average moviegoer would know him for). That said I kind of doubt he would’ve done it.

    • The Flobbit

      I actually think casting Eisenberg is a good decision. He’s a phenomenal actor who would bring something different to the role. And I want different!

      • http://www.collider.com/ DNAsplitter

        It’s a surprising choice and one that will hopefully help move the story forward and not hamper it with an odd casting choice. Eisenberg is a great actor who can pull off playing smart and cold. My main concern is his young appearance and believing that someone his age is already a billionaire at 30 something years old. But hopefully w Terrio’s script they have come up w a smart way to reintrouduce us to Lex Luthor.

      • The Flobbit

        I believed his Mark Zuckerberg was a billionaire, and he looked about 19. But again, I have faith in Eisenberg. He will not be the worst thing about this film.

  • Christian

    Phoenix would have been perfect. I don’t think the reaction to Eisenberg has been particularly positive.

  • Harry

    The reaction to Eisenberg has been abysmal, rivaling the outrage of when Affleck was cast. Goldberg is my favorite writer on collider (don’t shoot me people, his reviews are pretty spot-on and I like that someone doesn’t kiss ass to every movie) but man he couldn’t be more wrong about Eisenberg having a positive response. I don’t know one person who praised it. Shame Phoenix passed.

    • JBug

      I like Goldberg a lot as well. It looks to me like there was mostly positive response to Eisenber.

      • Harry

        Read the comments of the article when he was announced. There are many bad ones.

      • Harry

        Read the comments of the article when he was announced. There are many bad ones.

    • JBug

      I like Goldberg a lot as well. It looks to me like there was mostly positive response to Eisenber.

    • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

      Jesse Eisenberg has paid him lot of money to say that.

    • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

      Jesse Eisenberg has paid him lot of money to say that.

    • lordjim

      good for phoenix, who is an actor and not a money grabbing, teenager seducing hollywood-whore.
      besides, that they went with eisenberg after wanting phoenix clearly shows that they don´t have the slightest clue in which direction to go.

      • -

        Because Eisenberg is known for the money grabbing, the teenager seducing (although that’s a pretty unfortunate choice of words if you’re talking about Phoenix, just saying) and especially for the whoring.

    • The Flobbit

      People may be upset and confused over Eisenberg, but when Affleck was cast there was rioting in the streets. People were furious, absolutely raging. There is no way that the reaction to Jesse outweighed the one towards Batfleck.

      • Harry

        Rivaling doesn’t always mean beating.

  • Harry

    The reaction to Eisenberg has been abysmal, rivaling the outrage of when Affleck was cast. Goldberg is my favorite writer on collider (don’t shoot me people, his reviews are pretty spot-on and I like that someone doesn’t kiss ass to every movie) but man he couldn’t be more wrong about Eisenberg having a positive response. I don’t know one person who praised it. Shame Phoenix passed.

  • Doug_101

    I think Eisenberg will do a good job with the role, but I can’t deny that I was hoping it would be Phoenix.

    • lordjim

      being a phoenix fan i´m glad he stay´s out of projects like this, there was no need for michael shannon to shit on his reputation by taking a role he could have acted blind and drugged, so i´m glad phoenix knows what he´s doing.

      • Mattman

        Fortunately he didn’t do it “blind and drugged” and ended up doing an amazing job!

      • Strong Enough

        michael did not shit on his reputation smh

  • Kevin

    Matt was being sarcastic.

  • Kevin

    Matt was being sarcastic.

    • Harry

      It’s hard to read sarcasm from text.

      • Kevin

        Not when he says there was “positive reaction” when there clearly wasn’t and an actor like Joaquin Phoenix is “more controversial”.

  • Steven

    I so wish it was Phoenix.

    Its like trying to cast Pacino and you end up with Chevy Chase.

  • http://tarek-to-verso.over-blog.com/ tarek

    Joaquin Phoenix or Woody Harrelson. Two amazing actors.

    • The Walking Cuban

      Harrelson. Genius. Pun accidental.

  • mattinacan

    Matt is trolling us. Eisenberg is a terrible choice.

  • Nomis1700

    Thank god it didn’t work out with Driver, I can’t stand him.

  • Faptain America

    Phoenix would have pwned it. We’d Superman to snap his Luthor’s neck. Oh well, I’ll probably feel the same about a snivelly Eisenberg Luthor.
    Also, casting criticism tends to die down once we see an official pic in costume. Once we get used to the sight of it we can all go back to our spreadsheets. Same with Gadot, Affleck, Michael B. Jordan as Torch…

  • Person

    Eisenberg may be 30 but I don’t think he’s ever played his age on-screen and certainly has never looked anywhere close to 30. He looks maybe 25 tops, so I’m curious what kind of look Snyder and Co. decide to give him in the movie. I wouldn’t even be surprised if he isn’t bald.

  • yo

    Eisenberg officially makes the new Superman movie ARYAN VS JEW.

    • Man Of Carbon!

      In “Man of Steel” Snyder & Goyer seemed to go out of his way to make their Superman the most Jewish depiction of the character I’ve ever seen on screen. Perhaps as a tribute to Siegel &Shuster?
      First there’s the birth scene where the cast an Israeli actress as his natural mother. Then they gives him the conflict of battling a military force that’s hell bent of committing genocide (complete with a German actress as one of the main villains), taking over the world and creating a race of people that they deem to be superior… and then of course there’s the requisite Jesus (King of the Jews) imagery. They only stopped short in the casting of Superman himself, but hey, Mandy Patinkon probably wasn’t available.

      Or maybe we all just read too much into these sorts of things.

  • Mixed Race rich kid NYC

    See
    Proof that they don’t know what they’re doing or which Luthor will be on screen
    I mean look at it
    2 different kind of actors

    • Faptain America

      Thanks for stopping the trolling.

    • Troll Therapist

      I hope you’re a woman so if we ever meet I can punch you in your snatch.

  • Man of Carbon

    Phoenix is no doubt a great actor but in my opinion he would be a much better choice to play The Joker. He’s got a great, fiery, unpredictable nature about him that would be perfect for that role. Also, I can totally see him owning the look.
    As for Eisenberg I think he’s an excellent choice to really reinvent and modernize how Luther has been portrayed on screen. If they can write the character with the depth required then I have complete faith that he can pull it off.

    • Strong Enough

      Bizzaro

  • Tyler

    Eisenberg will either be the greatest Lex Luthor ever, or just fall bass-ackwards.

    • Faptain America

      Or just be kind of an in-between, meh Luthor.

      • André Camilo

        meh Luthor. That’s more likely.

  • The Walking Cuban

    Jason Mamoa said he’s not gonna be in bvs. And he was overlooked in favor of Batista for gotg. Forget marvel and DC: Jason Mamoa for Barbaric in The Savage Dragon (Jason Statham), kickstarter, who’s with me?!

  • Alex Hajna

    Met with positive reaction? It had about the same reaction as Ben Affleck being cast as Batman, just on a smaller scale.

    • Alex Hajna

      Unless, of course you were joking, which is entirely possible. Just hard to convey that via type, Matt.

  • Migz13

    I want to see how all of this will come into fruition before passing judgement. Looking forward to see this film 2 years from now.

  • Strong Enough

    Adam Driver? LMAO

    • God of Collider

      A pox on thee…. oh wait, I totally agree with you.

  • danny

    Am I the only person that hates Eisenberg fucking voice seriously it’s fucking annoying when he goes turbo force on it.

  • The Flobbit

    Just when you were having doubts about Eisenberg, it is revealed that Adam Driver was considered for the role. Oh the hell that could have been…

  • sense11

    Driver would have looked so weird without hair

  • ʝoe ‘Ʀoy Ʀavers’ ßloggs

    Phoenix: You want me to play who in what???
    (cue delirious laughter)
    Phoenix: Sorry. Excuse me. Uhm. No.

  • Joe

    Whatever happened to Bryan Cranston playing Lex Luthor? He would have been perfect for that role. Jesse Eisenberg is a decent actor but I dont think he is cut out for that role. I am disappointed with this.

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