Jesse Eisenberg Cast as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons As Alfred In Batman vs. Superman

Warner Bros. Pictures has announced that Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor for their upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, and has Jeremy Irons, who will be taking on the role of Alfred.

This news will, of course, stir up quite the bit of Internet controversy, which isn’t anything new when it comes to the casting choices of Batman vs. Superman. Last year when Ben Affleck was cast as Bruce Wayne/Batman, people were up in arms. Then just recently Gal Gadot (the model/actress most famous for her work in the Fast & Furious franchise) was cast as Wonder Woman, to which many complained that she’s too much of a model and not enough of an Amazonian woman. And now with the latest casting announcement, no doubt more anger will arise from the online masses.

The thing is, nobody knows why choices are being made, and as it’s been pointed out time and time again, when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman for the 1989 film, the studio received loads of hate mail saying they’d chosen wrong. Turns out, Keaton’s Batman is beloved by many, and to this day is still seen as the best Batman to some. There was also a public outcry at the casting of Heath Ledger as The Joker, and I’m pretty sure that turned out okay. It’s all a matter of opinion, and while people are free to voice theirs as often as they like, wouldn’t it be better to just wait until you’ve even seen a clip or trailer before throwing Warner Bros. and the film itself under the bus?

Zack Snyder, the film’s director, released the following statement on Eisenberg’s casting:

“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said. “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.”

While many were hoping for the much-rumoured (at least on the Internet) Bryan Cranston to take on the role, or even Joaquin Phoenix, whose name was thrown around as of late, don’t write off Eisenberg just yet. If you’ve seen The Social Network, Now You See Me, or Zombieland, it’s clear that while a unique choice, Eisenberg definitely brings a fast-talking, quick-thinking, don’t-mess-with-me attitude to the part of Luthor.

Also, while he looks young, Eisenberg is the same age as Superman himself, Henry Cavill, which may have had something to do with his casting as well. With the story still under wraps, maybe they’re meant to be adversaries who are roughly the same age, or this could even be the origin story of Luthor coming into his own. Those areas may not have worked with the others, as Cranston clearly looks old enough to be Cavill’s dad, while Phoenix has a more seasoned look to him as well.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder know what they’re looking for when it comes to the parts they’re casting. With how lucrative this franchise can potentially be for everyone involved – especially Warner Bros. – it’s highly unlikely that they’d allow choices to be made that they didn’t believe would work in the long run. Let’s not forget that Marvel has taken a lot of slack for their casting choices in the past as well, and they seem to be doing just fine at the moment.

When it comes to Alfred, the casting of Irons is likely news almost everyone can get on board with. It’ll be interesting to see how big of a role he has in Batman vs. Superman, compared to a standalone Batman film; however, Snyder seems excited to have him on board, so it likely won’t just be a bit part.

“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure,” Snyder said. “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.”

What are your thoughts on these casting choices? Do you wish Warner Bros. had gone a different direction? Do you have faith that they know what they’re doing? Are you going to hold your tongue until you’ve seen the movie (or at least a trailer) before making a decision? Sound off with your thoughts below!

For more Jesse Eisenberg discussion as Lex Luthor, read Scott Sawitz’s forthcoming Monday Morning Critic to complement your Super Bowl Sunday Hangover.

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