It's not so long since we speculated on the choice of villain in the upcoming Zack Snyder-helmed, Christopher Nolan-produced reboot of "Superman"; with Henry Cavill being picked to play the man of steel, it seemed like the next logical step for his adversary to appear, but, despite a number of names cropping up in rumors, it was never entirely clear which villain from the character's 80-year history would be facing off against Clark Kent's alter ego. But, breaking last thing on Friday night, we seem to have an idea of not only who the antagonist will be, but also the actor that seems to be leading the pack to play him.
The Hollywood Reporter suggest that Viggo Mortensen is at the top of the wish-list to play the role of General Zod in Snyder's film. The character, a megalomaniac fellow-exile from Superman's home planet of Krypton, is one of the best-known of the classic adversaries, having been embodied memorably by Terence Stamp in 1980's "Superman II" (easily the best cinematic depiction of the series so far). Zod was rumored to be the bad guy from early on in the project's history, although Snyder had previously dismissed the talk as 'just a rumor' -- something which now seems like damage control, rather than anything else.
Nevertheless, Mortensen, who's had a few years off from tentpoles after wrapping up the "Lord of the Rings" series, is by no means a sure thing; the article stresses that the actor is only a "person of interest" (which makes him sound like a murder suspect, quite frankly). Furthermore, the actor had seemed like all-but-a-sure-thing to join Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron in another high-profile project, "Snow White and the Huntsman," and that deal would have to fall apart, or the two studios would need to share the actor's schedule, in order for him to play Zod. Could this be the actor's representatives playing hardball?
He's a very strong choice for the part, it should be said, but it sounds like things are in very early stages, and Snyder's likely to be meeting with a number of a names for the part -- indeed, Badass Digest pass on, in a rather roundabout, half-assed kind of way, that Snyder had been bent on reuniting with his "300" star Gerard Butler by casting him as Zod, which sends shivers up our spine.
It also gives credence to speculation that the unnamed female character that Alice Eve, Diane Kruger and Rosamund Pike were up for would be Ursa, Zod's right-hand woman, although it's unclear whether the actresses are still in the running: Kruger seemed unaware of any talk of the film at the time, while Pike and Eve have both subsequently signed on to other tentpoles; the "Clash of the Titans" sequel and "Men in Black 3," respectively, although with filming imminent or underway on both, it doesn't necessarily rule them out.
Furthermore, THR confirm rumors that the role that Kevin Costner was linked to earlier in the week is that of Jonathan Kent, Kal-El's adoptive father, although again, things seem to be far from locked on that front. Snyder's also currently casting three female characters -- one of which is presumably the role that Eve, Kruger and Pike were up for, and we imagine the others are Martha Kent and the best-known love interest for the character, Lois Lane. We're sure that things will start to crystallize soon (and, it should be said, the names of Mortensen and Costner do bode well for the project), but we hope that the alleged script problems are being sorted out in the meantime.