When I started to write this article I was under the impression that any Man Of Steel sequel would further focus on Kal-El and his impact upon the world, and how people are coming to terms with an alien living among them. What I hadn’t planned for, was that the follow-up to this years Superman reboot would focus on two characters and not one. With the announcement coming from the San Diego Comic-Con that we will indeed see a Superman/Batman crossover movie in 2015, the game has changed slightly. It hasn’t affected the overall focus of my piece but it made me rethink a few things.
So what I plan on doing over the coming weeks and months is to write several pieces on the upcoming plans for the DC cinematic universe. I will start with the three people I believe could play Lex Luthor, then I will do follow-up articles on the other characters and movies we have been promised and even some of those that have just been rumoured.
So, with that in mind, the time is right for DC and Warner Bros. to reintroduce a classic character, much like they did with The Dark Knight and the Joker, and give audiences a fresh take on Lex Luthor. Plus it’s fun to play “what if?” with some things isn’t it.
Luthor is traditionally played as an evil genius, he has money behind him and is usually trying to find a way to defeat Superman. He has (in certain comic book continuities) become President, and is generally plotting one scheme or another.
Here are my three choices to play Lex Luthor.
Bryan Cranston started his acting career way back in 1982, but it wasn’t up until the year 2000 when he signed on to play Hal in Malcolm In The Middle that he made a name for himself. Since then he has had roles in How I Met Your Mother, 30 Rock, Drive, Argo and most famous of all, Breaking Bad. Cranston’s ability to take on different roles, from comedy to drama make him a perfect fit for Lex Luthor. Being able to empathise with both sides of the coin is important here I feel, with Luthor’s tortured past and genius level intelligence, he could have easily taken the same route as Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent and become a hero, but instead he took a wrong turn at some point which makes him the classic counterpoint to Superman’s big, blue, boy scout routine. Having said that, Luthor feels as if he is a hero, trying to rid the world of an alien being which has brought death and destruction to our planet, some people could really get onboard with that idea, as we already know from Man Of Steel, not everyone is pleased with the idea of a Kryptonian walking among us.
Mark Strong just looks like Lex Luthor doesn’t he? You take one look and immediately think, yeah you’re the guy who could play Lex Luthor. Strong has a made a career out of playing villains & dubiously moral characters in movies. Sunshine, RocknRolla, Kick-Ass and the latest Robin Hood movie have all benefited from the casting of Mark Strong. He oozes sly charm, and has calculated cunning down to a T. As Luthor is a ruthless businessman, whom I’m sure will come head to head with Bruce Wayne at some point, Strong has all the characteristics to be able to pull off dual roles as a shrewd businessman and nefarious villain. And yes, I know he starred in the Green Lantern movie as Sinestro, but no one saw that film so it doesn’t matter.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Smallville, but the one thing it really had going for it was Michael Rosenbaum as a young Lex Luthor. To many fans, he is Lex Luthor. Hell, even I think he is the best actor to play the role on television or in the movies. He simply had everything and made the role his own. Unfortunately, I doubt Rosenbaum would ever be cast as Luthor, because, despite him being the best actor for the job, I don’t think that Warner Bros. or DC want to confuse anyone by bringing in someone from a different Superman related continuity, which is a real shame, because it would have been so much fun to see him trading verbal and physical blows with both our heroes.