More casting news for the, as yet, untitled Superman-Batman film was recently revealed by Warner Bros. Pictures. On Friday, the film studio announced the sequel to Man of Steel would star both Jeremy Irons and Now You See Me actor Jesse Eisenberg. Veteran British actor Irons is set to play Batman’s most trusted of allies, Alfred, while Eisenberg will fill the role of Superman’s archenemy, Lex Luthor, the megalomaniacal business magnate.
The news will, no doubt, come as a disappointment to Breaking Bad fans, ending months of speculation over whether or not Bryan Cranston would play supervillain Luthor. Rumors began circulating around August, of last year, when Comic Book News reported Cranston had signed a “six ‘appearance’ deal.” Based upon the latest announcement issued by American film director Zack Snyder – who was responsible for directing 300, Watchmen and Man of Steel – the previous rumors appear to be unfounded.
Describing Lex Luthor as one of the “… most notorious of Superman’s rivals,” Snyder explains how the intricate character’s intelligence, wealth and prominence has established him as one of the few mere mortals to represent a danger to Superman’s astonishing power. Snyder then went on to explain why, in his opinion, Eisenberg would be a good fit for the infamous villain:
“What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain… Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
Snyder also ruminated over casting Irons as Alfred – a character the director and producer describes as Bruce Wayne’s “… most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure.” Explaining Alfred’s pivotal role in Wayne’s transformation into the Batman, Snyder moves on to offer his thoughts on Irons’ involvement in the upcoming project:
“[Alfred] 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.”
In addition, Henry Cavill will reprise his role as the Krypton-born superhero, Superman. Ben Affleck has, of course, now been cast as Batman. Snyder had previously stated that Affleck had the “acting chops” to pull off the part and portray a seasoned crime fighter that was “… older and wiser than Clark Kent.” Another new addition to the cast, as announced in December of 2013, is Israeli model and actress Gal Gadot, who has previously appeared in three Fast & Furious films; Gadot is set to play Wonder Woman. In addition, Laurence Fishburne and Amy Adams have confirmed they will be returning to play Perry White and Louis Lane, respectively.
Grossing more than $660 million worldwide, director Snyder and screenwriter David Goyer were bound to return for the blockbuster’s sequel. Christopher Nolan will serve as the film’s executive producer, meanwhile. The release date was initially anticipated for July 17, 2015; however, the film’s release was pushed back by 10 months to allow its inceptors to “fully realize” their vision, due to the project’s reported complexity.
By James Fenner