Mark Zuckerberg is going to take on Superman! Jesse Eisenberg’s crazy curly hair is going bye-bye as he has signed on to play Superman’s arch nemesis, Lex Luthor, in Batman vs. Superman. We’ll get back to that in a second because he wasn’t the only Oscar nominee to join the cast today.
Taking over for Michael Caine in the role of Alfred Pennyworth, Batman’s butler/confidante/doctor/shrink will be Jeremy Irons. Irons very much reminds me of the Alfred from Geoff Johns’ Batman Earth One. Someone who was a soldier and a mercenary; a field medic and a man of service. These qualities were all alluded to in Caine’s portrayal of Pennyworth, but Caine was clearly a much elderly Alfred (though much younger than HIS predecessor Michael Gough).
Let’s return though to Eisenberg as Luthor. Everyone had been chanting for Bryan Cranston, which I thought was a mistake. Don’t get me wrong, Cranston’s one of the best actors alive, but I wouldn’t have seen LEX LUTHOR on-screen, I’d have seen Walter White. Eisenberg seems a very weird choice at first, but think back to The Social Network in the deposition scenes. How arrogant and dismissive he was of everyone in the room because he knew how much smarter he was than them. There’s also a nervous energy and impatience to Eisenberg that’s very Lex as well. He doesn’t tolerate anything not moving at his speed well. I don’t know how he’ll look bald, but I’ve seen Luthor in Eisenberg before, I just never stopped to think about it until right this second.
We don’t know how many films either actor was signed on to portray their respective characters. I’d be surprised if Irons, at least, was not multiple pictures. That Lex was going to be this movie’s villain was all but a foregone conclusion, but I think we can consider that a lock now. This was director Zack Snyder’s take on the two pivotal roles to the new movie DCU he cast today:
“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,” explained Snyder.
“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,” the director added.
Irons and Eisenberg join a cast full of fellow Oscar nominees: Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Laurence Fishburne and Ben Affleck (who has two wins) along with Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Henry Cavill returning as the Man of Steel. Batman vs. Superman opens May 6, 2016.