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 Fishburne. Batman vs. Superman (tentative title) opens May 6, 2016.
A 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.