Part of what I love about covering casting rumors here for the site is that while they are not often true, sometimes when the real casting decision is made it is more outlandish and unbelievable than any fake rumor that came before it.
Warner Brothers has announced today that they have cast Jessie Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons to play the Wayne Family butler Alfred in the forthcoming Batman vs. Superman.
This is what Warners had to say about Eisenberg’s casting:
Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. 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.
I don’t know about “new” and “unexpected.” He’ll probably be playing him as a variation of the smug a-hole that employed in The Social Network and Now You See Me. Don’t get me wrong, he’s great in that type of role, but I don’t really expect much beyond that.
The only other takeaway I have from this casting is that he seems really young for the role. I mean, yes, using Facebook as an example, you can have multimillionaire CEO’s and corporation owners who are only 30. But Lex in the comics was always older. And considering that Tom Hanks and Bryan Cranston were the rumored names for the role, I thought that was the direction the powers that be were going in. You could have me sit in a room and name potential actors for Lex Luthor and I might have ever gotten to Eisenberg.
And while I am willing to see how this casting pans out, I am disappointed that Hanks didn’t get cast. He might not have even been really in the running, but I’d think he’d be fantastic.
And here is what Warners had to say about Irons’ casting:
As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. 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.
You can’t really say anything bad about this casting. Yes, Irons has taken a bunch of dubious roles in bad films for a paycheck in the recent past, but he is an Oscar winning actor who will bring a different take on the iconic character. It is a solid choice.
The only other interesting thing about Irons casting is that this is the smallest age difference between Alfred and Bruce in the films so far. Michael Gough was 40 years older than Michael Keaton, Michael Caine was 41 years older than Christian Bale, but Irons is only 24 years older than Ben Affleck.