And Just Like That, The 'Batman Vs. Superman' Casting Goes Completely Bonkers
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And Just Like That, The 'Batman Vs. Superman' Casting Goes Completely Bonkers

By TK | Trade News | January 31, 2014 | Comments ()


Well, it’s official — Affleck as Batman is no longer the hotly discussed part of this movie, because if this is to be believed, and it should, because it comes by way of an official Warner Brothers press release, Zack Snyder’s Batman Vs. Superman movie has crossed the line from weird into flat-out f*cking lunacy.

Jesse Eisenberg will be your next Lex Luthor.

Chew on those mind grapes for a few minutes.

Oh, and Jeremy Irons will be playing Alfred the Butler, and honestly, at first I thought I read the release wrong, and that Irons was Lex, which would TOTALLY WORK. But no, here it is, in all of its glory:

BURBANK, CA, January 31, 2014 - Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Jesse Eisenberg has been set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the upcoming Zack Snyder untitled Superman/Batman film. The dual announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.
Snyder stated, “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. 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 added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. 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.”

So there’s that. Hands down — hands f*cking down — the most insane superhero casting of all time. I’m serious. A 30-year old with a permanent stammer playing a genius scientist megalomaniac bent on world domination, Superman’s greatest and most ubiquitous foe. JESSE EISENBERG.

I keep waiting for the shoe to drop, for the punchline. I’ve checked and re-checked the trades five times since I started writing this, and nope. It’s still showing up as the truth.

You are not dreaming. This is the really real world. Where Mark Zuckerberg is going to play Lex Luthor. Which is kind of poetic, in its own warped, the world-has-no-meaning, god-is-dead kind of way.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • puppetDoug

    I think he's the modern world's version of a multi-trillionaire sociopath. The self-made bootstrap Lex with the neck of iron and Jon Hamm looks is a relic. The modern psycho is a nerd whose intellectual superiority and lack of empathy make him both the peak of humanity and the worst it has to offer. Pitting him against the Winklevoss twin of the superhero world, a small town jock so blinded by protecting his mommy that he knocked down a city having a fist fight is going to be excellent. If the opportunity is taken to turn Superman into Superman and show us why Lex and his libertarian out-for-myself, paranoid conspiracist ideas are the wrong path, then this could get very good.

  • jvo

    Lex is supposed to be a genius and also incredibly manipulative and really, really freaking good at charming people and winning them over (in Red Son, Lois marries him, in another timeline he gets elected president, etc).

    I LIKE Eisenberg but between this and the Wonder Woman casting.....i'm out. i just can't any more.

  • Ben

    Honestly I love this casting, just fucking love it. It's going to be really different to what they usually do with Luther but I can definitely see what their going for. And it's pretty much the first bit of news about this shit show of a movie that has be excited to see it.

  • Jezzer

    So, is Snyder just Springtime for Hitlering this shit, or what?

  • Classic

    LOL I am putting this on my FB status right now.

  • Mizghetti

    To be fair, people were saying the same thing when Heath Ledger was cast as the Joker. While I agree that it's an odd choice, I'm not going to judge it until I see it.

  • CMooreVerdad

    Isn't Eisenberg too young? I thought Superman and Luthor were supposed to be contemporaries. (Which would make Irons and Cranston too old.)

  • CMooreVerdad

    NM - I was comparing him to Batfleck. Eisenberg is appropriately contemporaneous to Cavill. (Which would make Irons and Cranston even more inappropriately old.)

  • Pitry

    Doesn't matter, Zack Snyder is still directing. He had Amy Adams in the first one and managed to mess that up, ffs!
    (Although, this does fall under Better Than Expected).

  • duckandcover

    Snyder stated, “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. 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.

    It's like he had a stroke in the middle of saying all that.

  • Classic

    I am sorry there is no way I can see Jesse E as Lex Luthor. He always comes off as a petulant brat to me in every freaking role he is in (Social Network and Now You See Me). I don't see a power crazed awe inspiring man like Lex Luthor in him at all. Lex has charisma do I see Jesse E trying to charm Lois Lane? He looks like he is maybe 100 ponds soaking wet and like he can be broken by a stiff wind. Whatevs to this mess. I hated Man of Steel and I will just pass on this.

  • Afferbeck

    The only thing I can think of is how strange he's going to look without his jewfro. Unless they decide, fuck it, Lex Luthor doesn't need to be bald either.

  • NoPantsMcLane

    Michael Cera as The Joker. Am i the first one to make that joke? I hope it's a joke at least.

  • Bert_McGurt

    And starring as the Ventriloquist (and Scarface)...

  • Jessie Soto

    I'm sorry, but no. Just. No. What's he going to do, nerd Batman and Superman to death?

  • hapl0

    I keep telling everyone don't get worked up over casting rumors anymore. We all know what's going to happen.

    Just like Cavill, and just like what's going to happen to Ben and not Emily Blunt, Jesse Eisenberg will be all roided up and ready to blow our collective minds when this comes out.

    Maybe literally now with Jesse added though.

  • Dave Dorris

    So, the Nolan films are officially dead to this world then. That was the last nail.

  • Andrew J

    Can the guy who played our real life lex Luther play comic book lex Luther? I say yes

  • $3150730

    If Zuckerberg is the real life Lex Luthor, who is his Superman?

  • greg


  • NoOneofConsequence

    Lex will always be Clancy Brown to me. Well, I guess I can wait until this train wreck hits the Redbox.

  • AudioSuede

    Wait, something just occurred to me: By casting Jesse Eisenberg as the villain, are they making a subtle anti-Semitic dig? He's the only person in the entire cast who LOOKS Jewish, and they've cast him as an evil, rich, conniving bad guy for the blue-eyed Superman to punch in the face.

    I'm playing the card now: That's messed up.

  • Bee

    You're the anti-Semitic one, you rat f--k. Jesse Eisenberg has blue eyes, too, last time I checked. Gal Gadot is a JEW. Michael Rosenbaum, who is Jewish, previously played Luthor.

    For future reference:
    Actors of fully Jewish background: -Logan
    Lerman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Mila Kunis, Natalie Portman, Bar Refaeli, James Wolk, Julian Morris, Esti Ginzburg, Kat Dennings, Erin Heatherton, Odeya Rush, Anton Yelchin, Paul Rudd, Scott Mechlowicz, Andrew Garfield, Lizzy Caplan, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Gal Gadot, Robert Kazinsky, Melanie Laurent, Marla Sokoloff, Shiri Appleby, Justin Bartha, Adam Brody, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Gabriel Macht.

    Actors with Jewish mothers and non-Jewish fathers -Jake Gyllenhaal, James Franco, Scarlett Johansson, Daniel Radcliffe, Alison Brie, Eva Green, Emmy Rossum, Jennifer Connelly, Eric Dane, Jeremy Jordan.

    Actors with Jewish fathers and non-Jewish mothers, who themselves were either raised as Jews and/or identify as Jews: -Ezra Miller, Alexa Davalos, Nat Wolff, James Maslow, Josh Bowman, Ben Foster, Nikki Reed.

    Actors with one Jewish-born parent and one parent who converted to Judaism
    -Dianna Agron, Sara Paxton (whose father converted, not her mother), Alicia Silverstone, Jamie-Lynn Sigler.

  • AudioSuede

    I mean, I love Jesse Eisenberg as an actor so much, but this casting makes no sense, mostly because he still looks like a college student and Henry Cavill at least LOOKS ten years older. So they're just not caring about age differences at all at this point? I seriously don't understand what's going on.

  • belphebe

    It could work. Lex has always been a peer of Superman's, it might be interesting to see him as this young guy who is underestimated as just a f'up until it's too late and much blowing up of municipal landmarks ensues. *kaboom* *bang* *smash*! and Superman is crying while cradling the lifeless body of Batfleck and whispering -bbbut he wears a hoodie. A HOODIE!

  • malikvlc

    Who the hell is casting this movie? The Joker?!?

  • Jamie

    i like it. i reckon Eisenberg could be proper scary and commanding.

  • ehassy

    Miley Cyrus as Lois Lane.

  • Helo

    movie Zuckerberg minus hair and guilt = instant Luthor.

    I like it. I actually think that having people underestimate Luthor could be an important part of the character, so bonus points there. And in this day and age, I'd sooner buy LL as more a Zuckerberg type mega millionaire than a scientist or businessman. I'm optimistic, take away the title of Superman/Batman (or whatever it winds up being), I'd wager plenty of film/pop culture websites would be drooling at the cast.

    Irons for Alfred = a great way of distinguishing the character from Caine, who by all rights was the heart and soul of TDK trilogy. I suspect a drier, slightly more cavalier Alfred (like the DC animated universe) may be in the works.

  • competitivenonfiction

    Ok, but I can totally see this, though maybe it's just because of his role in the Social Network. This made me think that if Lex Luther was a new character - if we were talking about someone who was trying to take over the world today., it wouldn't be about real estate, it would be about social media. It's definitely not where they're going with this, and there is nothing Superman could do about this kind of a threat (or very little), but it would be pretty awesome to see Batman and Superman (physical heroes) face off against a more virtual opponent.

  • Sean

    Exactly what I thought. Luthor is just a more flamboyant Mark Zuckerberg. Works for me.

  • This is officially the Must See Movie of 2015. It's either going to be The Dark Knight-level awesome or Batman & Robin-like level car crash. No in betweens

  • The genius, arrogant prick I can get, but no matter how you modernize it, Lex Luthor needs to be intimidating. Which is something I don't get from Eisenberg. This casting also further proves to me WB is trying to squeeze way to much into this movie. It's got all the makings of a hot mess.

  • Helo

    We haven't seen the script - if Goyer's written the script such that Luthor is DRIVEN to intimidate people due to people underestimating him, I can totally buy Eisenberg. It wouldn't be a terribly laughable interpretation of the character, Rosenbaum played that arc to a T in Smallville.

  • Mrs. Julien

    We're perilously close to nipples on the batsuit, is what you're saying.

  • Metaphorically speaking yes.

  • Wrestling Fan

    He played Mark Zuckerberg, so obviously he can convincingly portray an evil supergenius.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Count me in on the "curiousity piqued" side of things.

    Irons as Alfred is, of course, fabulous.

  • Sofia

    This movie is getting more and more interesting with every casting announcement.

  • ehassy

    When is Miley Cyrus joining the cast?

  • BlackRabbit

    She's Miss Tessmacher.

  • andrew packer

    This works, especially this day in age. I can totally see the Lex Luthor of today being some millinial entitled brat that got rich as fuck inventing a google or a facebook. The only snag I see is that he'll just be doing what he did in The Social Network. Great idea for the character, we'll see how the performance when it arrives.
    And who didn't think Heath Ledger would totally suck shit as The Joker? We were all way wrong.
    Then again, Snyder vis-a-vis Nolan is like Law & Order vs The Wire.

  • Don't forget that Nolan is the head producer. You'd better believe that he has a say in all major film decisions: script, casting, etc.

  • AudioSuede

    Well, he was also producer on Man of Steel, and that movie was a mess, script-wise. Plus, Zack Snyder is many things, but an actor's director is not one of them. Stacking the talent pool could work in his favor or, like Watchmen, the actors will try desperately to claw out of the muck of his bland, by-numbers direction and succeed only in highlighting how weak the dialogue is. DC is handing the reins to Snyder and David S. Goyer like the two of them together might make it halfway to Joss Whedon, and that just isn't an equation that makes sense.

  • Much of what you say is true, however, this article is concerned strictly with the casting choice. Nolan's films have an impeccable track record of great casting. As you mentioned, The Man of Steel, which Nolan produced, was a mess script-wise; but I don't recall anyone having serious Affleck-esque issues with any of the casting decisions.
    I'm not saying that Nolan's involvement outweighs the tons of mediocre that Snyder will pile on to just about every aspect of the film. All I'm saying is, as shown by his history of casting decisions, I can't get too upset about this move until I see the finished project.

  • TK

    Nailed it.

  • Buellie413

    I'm intrigued.

  • Nimue

    Me too, after Now You See Me I can kind of picture it.

  • Brian Merritt

    You know, I can't help but feel this is all Joanna's fault. She decides to leave and shit gets stupid.

  • Well, after the last flick, it was unlikely I was going to watch this. This seals it. Maybe I'll be wrong, and it will be a great film, but the casting does absolutely nothing for me.

  • Okay, now they're just trolling.

  • So....that...that BOY is taking on...THIS.

    THIS. THIS GLORIOUS MAN. I don't even know what they're thinking and it's ridiculous and that movie's gonna be a total absolute mes----oh...oh,*guh* I'm sorry what was I saying?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    How is his beard so delightfully curly?

  • Sheer magical perfection.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    Is the hair supposed to just be right around each pec like that? I only ask because mine is just a triangular patch neatly placed between my moobs.

  • loo shag brolley

    Right? Usually it's just a girl thing.

  • Emm82

    I haven't seen the 1st one yet, but based on this picture I may have to. Moist Lions indeed!

  • It's all in like the first five minutes but it is SO worth it. Then he puts on clothes and shaves but he still looks like the prettiest person who ever lived. With a cape.

  • Emm82

    Thanks, I'll give it a go! I've never said that about a superman movie before - I usually hate Zach Snyder, but HC seems to be worth the slog :)

  • Mrs. Julien

    Transcript of my reaction:

    Oh, figgy put up a picture, bless her.
    [clicks to open]
    Oh, JESUS!
    [frantic scrolling to block the photo]

  • Sara_Tonin00

    ha, mine too! plus anxious glancing behind me to make sure no one saw it on my screen.

  • Guest


  • Kala

    Um. Words and...stuff. Movie. Snark. Um. Yeah. *Permanent Dumb*

  • Mrs. Julien


  • I don't think Eisenberg is a particularly strong actor, but he's great for this particular role. It's a modern and inspired choice.

  • Davis

    This is insanely good, it's better than some hack casting like Bryan Cranston at least they're thinking outside of the box.

    No disrespect to heisenberg but just because you have a bald head doesn't mean you're lex luther.

  • Paddington

    When I first saw this I didn't buy it but it is actually pretty inspired casting. There's no real reason for Lex Luther to be imposing, Superman could swat him at anytime so why not make him a really annoying, entitled villain with an inferiority complex?

  • AudioSuede

    People forget that Gene Hackman was never an imposing character, he was just a rich asshole who wanted to be even more rich and even more of an asshole. Kevin Spacey played Luthor, for god's sake. The man is the definition of conniving but physically simpering.

  • Amy Love
  • Adam

    Do you think maybe WB heard the fans wanted Heisenberg so they went and casted Eisenberg and it was just a hilarious mix up?

  • If you mix up what he did in Social Network, Zombieland and Now You See Me, it's not hard to see him having the right mix of dark, snark and smarm to totally make this work. Remember when the world was going to end when that Brokeback guy was cast as the Joker? Calm down peoples.

  • $3150730

    That last bit... that's clearly what they're going for.

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    yeah i mean, he's a good actor and i'm sure he's a nice dude in real life, but he looks like a smug asshole to me.

    which means he's a good choice to play Lex.

    and yeah, i was definitely up to my eyes in "WTF how could theys" when they announced Heath Ledger as the Joker. then even just the image of his face released via the viral campaign and of course, the eventual movie, insured i'd stop questioning casting decisions until i see the movie first

    give casting directors a chance, ya'll

  • Ted Zancha

    I get that. But the difference between this and the batman movies is the director and writing team. Nolan got a great performance out of Ledger because he knows how to cast his movie and it had a great script. I think that in the hand of a worthy director, Eisenberg might work well.

    Snyder kinda let me down with Henry Cavil as Superman and the movie as a whole. Based on the fact that he has more of a flare for the visual instead of story (i.e. using the latest Superman movie to level a city), I don't know if he will be able to hit all the subtle nuances that will show Lex Luthor for the complex character that he is.

  • ZizoAH

    I think they meant to say "Call Heisenberg and offer him the job" and an intern just wrote the name without the H, that's how he ended up with the job instead of Bryan Cranston.

    It feels like they are trying to cast the most unexpected actors, just to tease us. Nobody thought this would happen.

  • MrONegative

    Didn't the Coens do that on No Country for Old Men?

  • Ted Zancha

    My immediate thoughts after reading this article:

    The correct choice was Bryan Cranston.

    What the hell is this shit.

    He is going to look weird as a bald man.

  • Emm82

    He could make such an awesome LL, & I never even thought of him. For shame Emm.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I'm just hoping the movie includes an origins myth for Luthor's baldness.

  • If the Metallo rumor holds true, then you probably get it in spades.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    I love it when I'm smarter than even I realize.

  • I just hope he wears an ascot for most of the movie.

  • Davis

    It's so obvious to bryan cranston. It's like casting christopher reeves for professor x just because of his wheelchair

  • Mrs. Julien

    Bryan Cranston is a WAY better actor than a dead guy.

  • Davis

    Since when was jesse eisenberg dead? LOLJK

    But still why are you spewing so much venom at christopher reeves

  • Mrs. Julien

    Because it amuses me?

  • Davis

    You foul animal

  • grr arrgh

    I would so love Cranston to be Luthor. That would be so much better. I think Eisenberg is too...weak to play Luthor. Luthor should be someone who oozes authority and can be commanding and Eisenberg seems like the sort of supervillain who would continually ask his underlings "Does...does that seem like a good idea?"

  • Modernlove

    THIS. I was trying to pinpoint why I wasn't happy about this and that's exactly it. He has no presence. I've never trusted Snyder to do anything right, though, so I don't know why I'm surprised at this.

  • Mrs. Julien

    At the risk of insulting Henry Cavill, the casting directors have to be very careful not to bring a gun to a knife fight.

  • Modernlove

    This is truly becoming brains vs. brawn.

  • Mrs. Julien

    And the Affleck casting decision makes even more sense, too.

  • Ted Zancha

    I could not agree more. Like maybe I see it in his face, but Luthor has to be scary and intimidating.

    DC needs to get their stuff in order, because the last man I remember playing Luthor was that skinny kid on Smallville. And that was just bad.

  • thatsmrsnyder

    My wife says I need to be nicer so I won't downvote you but c'mon. Luthor in Smallville was the only reason I liked that show.

    Aaaand, I just admitted to liking Smallville. Dammit.

  • grr arrgh

    I was agreeing with Mrs. Julien. I didn't mean to imply that he was bad. He was a good villain on a bad show.

  • grr arrgh

    I didn't watch Smallville much but their Lex, to me at least, was pretty convincing. I don't recall him being skinny, but he was tall and had a commanding voice. He looked and sounded menacing. I don't feel Eisenberg has it and I doubt he's going to pull a full Ledger. I'm not saying he'll be bad and I don't rule out the possibility of him being great. I'm kind of in the wait and see category.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Michael Rosenbaum was the best thing on that show.

  • axis2clusterB


  • grr arrgh

    Based on what I watched of that show, he didn't have stiff competition to be the best thing.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Anyone else suspect that Eisenberg has a really weird shaped scalp?

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