Last week, Warner Bros. made the surprising announcement that 30-year-old Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor in the highly-anticipated superhero sequel Batman Vs. Superman. Naturally, fanboys across the world reacted negatively to the casting, claiming that The Social Network star was simply not right for the role.
Today, new details have emerged about the logic behind the studio's casting, plus information about who else was up for the role, while Matt Damon reveals he has also been one of the lucky few to have seen Ben Affleck in his Batman costume.
Girls star Adam Driver was offered the Lex Luthor role, although he ultimately passed due to scheduling conflicts. Joaquin Phoenix, who was rumored for the role in December, also passed. Oddly enough, Adam Driver was rumored to play Batman's sidekick Nightwing back in November, although he denied any involvement a few weeks later.
When Warner Bros. first announced that their Man of Steel sequel would feature both Batman and Superman at Comic-Con last year, it didn't take long for rumors to start flooding in regarding who may portray Lex Luthor. Actors such as Mark Strong and Bryan Cranston were rumored early on, but studio sources say Bryan Cranston was never offered the role. They did internally discuss the possibility of bringing in Tom Hanks as the villain, though an offer was never issued. While the studio did flirt with the notion of bringing an established star in to play the villain, they ultimately stuck to a 'next-gen' mandate. The studio wouldn't confirm whether or not Jesse Eisenberg, who is the same age as Henry Cavill, would shave his head to play Lex Luthor. However, Lex Luthor's early appearances in the DC Comics show the villain with a full head of red hair.
Insiders indicate that the studio and director Zack Snyder aren't casting a "wide net" for the remaining roles in Batman Vs. Superman, instead, targeting actors from a short list they have established. An unidentified source said that the director, "doesn't see a lot of people." With Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman's confidante Alfred (Jeremy Irons) and Lex Luthor already cast, it isn't known what other major roles are still left to be filled.
In related news, Matt Damon revealed in a recent interview that he has seen a photo of his longtime friend Ben Affleck in the Batman suit, while revealing that he would have spoke up if he thought his friend was making a big mistake in taking on the role.
"I've seen a picture. I have seen a picture. It's excellent. And I've talked to him about the story line, and it's great. Look, I've known him for thirty-something years. I'd be the first guy being like, 'Buddy, what are you doing?' But I think the movie is going to be great."