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Jesse Eisenberg & Jeremy Irons Are Lex Luthor & Alfred In Zack Snyder’s 'Batman Vs. Superman'

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist January 31, 2014 at 12:52PM

While the rumor mill churned with Bryan Cranston, and other older, balder actors, it looks like Zack Snyder and co. have thrown a huge curveball to fans when it comes to Lex Luthor, the long expected villain of "Batman Vs. Superman": he's going to be much younger than you thought.
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Jesse Eisenberg

While the rumor mill churned with Bryan Cranston and other older, balder actors, it looks like Zack Snyder and co. have thrown a huge curve ball to fans when it comes to Lex Luthor, the long-expected villain of "Batman Vs. Superman": he's going to be much younger than you thought.

Warner Bros. has announced today that Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor in the upcoming "Man Of Steel" sequel, with Jeremy Irons also on board in the role of Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred. The news comes out of left field, with no one predicting this turn of events, though we have to say it's pretty welcome. It will be interesting to see how Superman deals with a adversary who is basically his own age (Henry Cavill and Jesse Eisenberg are both 30), and it's a pretty nice way to tweak the canon. (Also: Eisenberg can play a great asshole.)

Now add to the mix an "older and wiser" Batman grappling with a young upstart superhero and baddie as well, and it opens the door to some interesting character opportunities. Essentially, it's a nice shorthand to show how much things may have changed from older Batman's day to the what he's seeing now in the younger superhero and villain. It's potentially fascinating stuff.

That being said, we had high hopes for "Man Of Steel" in terms of character and story, only for it to turn into a slugfest and disaster epic, so as always, proceed with caution. But we certainly like the ambition, and it's the kind of depth we don't get in the Marvel machine of movies. 

Thoughts? Hit the comments section. "Batman Vs. Superman" arrives on May 6, 2016.

Official Press Release---------

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.”

Eisenberg received Academy Award®, Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild Award® and BAFTA Award nominations for his starring role as Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s “The Social Network.” He also starred in Woody Allen’s “To Rome with Love” and Louis Letterier’s “Now You See Me.” He next appears in “The Double” and “Night Moves.”

Irons won the Academy Award® for his portrayal of Claus von Bülow in “Reversal of Fortune.” His work in the film also garnered him a Golden Globe Award. He won an Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Award® for his performance in the TV miniseries “Elizabeth I,” opposite Helen Mirren, and recently starred on the small screen as Rodrigo Borgia in Neil Jordan’s highly acclaimed Showtime series “The Borgias,” for which Irons earned a Golden Globe nomination. He was recently nominated for a SAG Award® for the PBS Great Performances television miniseries “The Hollow Crown,” for his performance as Henry IV.

Snyder’s film stars Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. The film also reunites “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

The new film is currently being written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

The film is set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, and is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

This article is related to: Batman v. Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons


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