While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has included some of the most talked-about castings in recent comic book movie history, arguably the most unexpected choice was Jesse Eisenberg’s landing the role of Lex Luthor. While the Zombieland star is a great actor, many have not been sold on the idea of the Oscar nominee playing Superman’s greatest villain. While we have a while to wait before we get an idea of what Eisenberg’s Luthor will be like, the actor has offered some intriguing new details for his take on the character.
Speaking with Total Film (via Comic Book Movie), Eisenberg is inevitably asked about playing Lex Luthor. He affirms that he did not take the role simply for financial reasons, and he recalls initially being offered the part. “My father always cautions me against thinking of something as a means to some other end, because then its irresponsible to the ‘means’ thing. They asked me if I wanted to play the part before they sent me the script. I’m not sure how it worked, but it’s something I read with the understanding that I could do the role, If I… You know, they don’t just hand the scripts out. But I really liked it on its own terms. I would do it if it was for free and it was tiny.” He admits that, before being cast, he did not read comics and did not watch any comic book films. However, after landing the coveted role, Eisenberg did his research and not only read “stacks” of comic books and watched one of the original Superman films, which starred Gene Hackman as Lex Luthor.
Eisenberg then weighs in on his finally joining a comic book movie, a genre which has seen a ridiculous amount of popularity in recent years. He goes on to praise the script and overall quality of Batman v Superman. “I’ve been in things that have been popular before. To say, I can’t do that which will appear in thousands of theaters on opening day, but I can do this which will appear in this amount of theaters… It’s arbitrary. I realise how popular comic-book movies are, and now, working on one, I realise why they’re popular – the story is really good, the dialogue is really good, the artistry behind every department is high, the acting is really good. So if they’re all put together with that level of quality…” And while Eisenberg obviously can’t go into detail over his portrayal of Lex, he does offer a couple of hints, and he reflects on his meeting writer Chris Terrio to develop this incarnation of the iconic supervillain. “There are some indications of how the character should behave based on the script, and then as actor makes it his or her own. I got to know one of the writers really well, Chris Terrio, and we were able to discuss things at length and figure out who this person is to create a real psychology behind what is, perhaps, in a comic book, a less than totally modern psychology. I can only say I’ve been asked to play an interesting role: a complicated, challenging person.” Stay tuned for more news as we have it.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is scheduled to hit theaters March 25th, 2016. A follow-up to Man of Steel, the second installment in the DC Cinematic Universe stars Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Jesse Eisenberg, Callan Mulvey, Tao Okamoto, Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne. Zack Snyder directs from a script by Chris Terrio and David S. Goyer.