Superman Returns was an interesting movie, because it was set up as a direct sequel to the 1978 Superman and its franchise. So Kevin Spacey looked to Gene Hackman for inspiration in playing the iconic villain Lex Luthor. The same can't be said about Batman Vs. Superman, which brings Lex Luthor into director Zack Snyder's take on this DC Comics property. Played by Jesse Eisenberg this time around, we can expect a new and original take on Kal-El's greatest living nemesis.
Speaking with IGN, Jesse Eisenberg explained that he doesn't want to honor what came before in terms of his performance. He doesn't feel he needs to wink at Kevin Spacey or Gene Hackman, nor will he read any of the comic books to get a feel for the man.
"It'll definitely be played by a different person, but I don't know really how different this...I don't know the history as well as the people making the movie, so I guess it's up to them to figure out how much they want to separate it from previous incarnations. But I will treat it like it's its own role. There's no way to play the history of the character played by other people, unless you do some kind of wink, but that doesn't seem like a responsible way to act. So I will just do it as though it's a character, in the same way you do a movie like The Double, which is a smaller movie, but you just kind of treat it like a character, and that's probably the best course of action, I think."
When asked if he has plans to shave his head bald, he explained,
"I'm not allowed to say anything, because of their privacy."
Jesse Eisenberg decided to take on the role of Lex Luthor because of the way it was written, not because he saw an opportunity to attach himself to a huge franchise.
"The character's really good, so it's like doing anything else. They make a lot of those movies, so if you're an actor in things, you will probably cross paths with it at some point. But the character's written really well. It's a really great role. The fact that it's in a big movie, you know, it seems like a character that would be in any kind of movie. It just happens to be in a bigger, flashier kind of thing."
It should be noted, Gene Hackman didn't always play his Lex Luthor as bald. Maybe Jesse Eisenberg will go the same route, but can he do it without a wink?