‘Superman/Batman’: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred

Jan. 31, 2014 | 10:17 a.m.
Jesse Eisenberg has been set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the new Batman-Superman movie, the upcoming "Man of Steel" sequel. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Jesse Eisenberg, left, is set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the new Superman/Batman movie, the upcoming “Man of Steel” sequel. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times; Ethan Miller / Getty Images)

Jesse Eisenberg will play famous villain Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder’s untitled sequel to 2012’s “Man of Steel,” which will see Henry Cavill’s Superman match wits with Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman.

Actor Jeremy Irons also has been cast as Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred, according to a statement issued by Warner Bros. Friday. The character had been played by Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed Gotham City trilogy.

Lex Luthor on the cover of "Superman Unchained" No. 4. (Jim Lee / DC Entertainment)

Lex Luthor on the cover of “Superman Unchained” No. 4. (Jim Lee / DC Entertainment)

Though Internet rumors last year widely suggested Bryan Cranston would be tapped to play Luthor, the role ultimately went to Eisenberg, famous for roles in such films as “Zombieland” and “The Social Network.” In that David Fincher film, he played Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and earned an Oscar nomination for his performance.

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“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said in the statement. “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.”

The director added, “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 facade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

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Alfred Pennyworth on the cover of "Batman: Gotham Knights" No. 42. (Brian Bolland / DC Entertainment)

Alfred Pennyworth on the cover of “Batman: Gotham Knights” No. 42. (Brian Bolland / DC Entertainment)

One of the biggest hits of last summer, “Man of Steel” grossed more than $291 million at the North American box office. Producers Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are returning for the follow-up, with Nolan and Emma Thomas serving as executive producers along with Benjamin Melniker and Michael E. Uslan.

Returning “Man of Steel” cast members include Amy Adams as Lois Lane and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. Diane Lane also will reprise her role as Martha Kent.

Earlier this month, Warner Bros. pushed the release date of the “Man of Steel” follow-up from July 17, 2015, to May 6, 2016. The studio said the move was designed to allow “the filmmakers time to realize fully their vision, given the complex visual nature of the story.”

The “Man of Steel” sequel goes into production later this year, and is set to film in Michigan.

The project was originally announced last year at San Diego’s Comic-Con International.

— Gina McIntyre

Follow us on Twitter: @LATHeroComplex


Christian Bale plays Bruce Wayne in "The Dark Knight Rises." (Ron Phillips / DC Comics / Warner Bros.)Ben Affleck will play Batman in ‘Man of Steel’ sequel, due July 17, 2015

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‘Man of Steel’: Zack Snyder tries reconstruction


24 Responses to ‘Superman/Batman’: Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons as Alfred

  1. enviisbetter says:

    Trying to reserve judgement…trying….trying…

    He plays the same sort of character in every single movie. How in the hell is he going to be Lex…I just…..gah….

  2. cinema is my passion says:

    Ridiculous castings. Eisenberg is a child in a man's film! From Adventureland to Lex Luthor! This film will be a super BUST with Afflucked-Up and now this. Irons is no butler type either. Next thing you know Dainel Craig will be cast as the Flash!

  3. Brian says:

    eisenberg really?…………………HOPE IT FAILS

  4. seamonkey trainer says:

    Eisenberg as Lex Luthor????!!!!!! While he was amazing in Social Network, he is not believable as a maniacal evil genius. REALLY!! CLANCY BROWN(who does the Luthor's voice in the animated series) would be MUCH BETTER SUITED. COME ON HOLLYWOOD….CAN YOU TRY & MAKE SOME EFFORT IN CASTING BELIEVABLE ACTORS!!!!!!!

  5. MrDroid says:

    Looks like some lame choices for Alfred and Lex Luthor.

  6. Worst casting choice ever for Lex, he’s too young, and all the characters he plays in all his movies are the same.

    What are they gonna do next give us a 22 year old bruce Wayne and expect us to just believe it?

  7. K.B.A. says:


  8. Jim says:

    I am trying to reserve judgment on the casting. Remember when we thought Michael Keaton was a terrible choice for the first Batman? (But I still hate the Affleck choice!)

  9. baba O'riley says:

    too many Super Heros or villains in one movie = disaster + add in Hack Snyder and it is going to be bad

  10. @PJS279 says:

    Jeremy Irons as Alfred is epic …

  11. Chormst says:

    Everyone is so quick to fire up the torches and break out the pitchforks. How about waiting to see the film before you judge the performance? Maybe they should just say screw it and not make the movie at all.

  12. Shaniqua Watts says:

    Horrible choices for Cavill's Superman film so far. What are the producers thinking? $200 million or so to be spent on this? I will stay home.

  13. johnny says:

    Horrible casting. So far this movie looks more like a comedy than a drama.

    • DKBats says:

      Exactly what part looks like a comedy? I am not aware that anyone considered a comedian or a comic actor has been cast. No, wait, don
      t tell me, Steve Martin is playing Aquaman! get a life.

  14. Julia Romano lee says:

    If Lex's character was a trite bit older I would totally cast "JAMES SPADER" from recent show "Blacklist." Everything about J. Spader from acting to the voice of Lex screams James! My choice is STILL a MUCH BETTER CHOICE THAN Eisenberg who voice sounds like a 13 year old, and truly i am not trying to be sassy with my response, I respect young Eisenberg for his skill-set, but he will have to dig deep in talent and voice to portrait Lex Luther in Batman.

  15. DKBats says:

    I love it, all of these people giving up their expert opinions and none of them has ever actuakkt been involved in film making. I would definitely hire the fans that make the negative comments to make a movie. Throw out Snyder and everybody else and put the damn thing in the hands of a bunch of stupid fanboys, that's what I say. I mean really, these are the same people who were calling for Josh Brolin to be Batman, and I mean really, why do we want a guy who did poorly in Jonah Hex tom play the DC Comics best character? Well, that's how much fanboys know. If you look at the number of years that will be involved in using the Lex Luthor character you obniously are not looking for someone who will look like Grandpa Luthor anytime soon. Hell, if we wanted to do that we could just bring back Gene Hackman. Jesse Eisenberg is someone who has been nominated for an acting award and what that says is the guy can act. Act means pretend, make believe, so that should be a clue there why we have this guy. On Ben Affleck and Daredevil, how many people blame Affleck for Daredevil and forget that the actor acts according to what the director says and what the script tells him to say? Anybody out there get that? before you blame an actor for a bad movie you have to start with the director and the script because that IS the movie.

    At the end of Man of Steel during the big fight I imagined what it would be like in that situation against an army of people all as powerful as Superman and Superman having help and well, its coming and just as Avengers was huge and changed the way movies work and are made, so will this movie and the one already planned to follow it. People can hate it all they want just because they don't get the people they think should be in the movie and again I say, if fanboys know sop much why aren't they the ones making the movie!

  16. Jeremy says:

    I wonder if all of the people complaining about these castings were the same ones whining about Heath Ledger as Joker. To make a judgement about a casting before the movie has even started filming is the epitome of asinine.

    • Bird says:

      is it really worth taking the risk of tainting a whole series of films with a terrible casting choice?! what are they going to do, film it, then realize how wrong he is, then recast the character after the first film, ruining the continuity of the series! is that a risk worth taking on what could possibly go in a more positive direction and become the largest film series in history? not at all! Eisenberg is too youthful looking, ridiculous to try and imagine as a villain people love to hate, impossible to buy as tough, an actor many find irritating to even watch, readable on the screen, he plays himself as himself as so and so. like Tom Cruise! but the #1 problem is still that he doesn't, and can never be believable as Luthor based on physical appearance alone! it will be goofy!

  17. Bird says:

    I'm tired of people and the Heath Ledger argument. 1. That was Goyer's version of a Joker-like character, but not "The Joker". 2. Part of what helped Ledger appear menacing was the makeup. 3. No matter what you do, Eisenberg will appear goofy if trying to act menacing, or tough at all! 4. Unless for comedic relief you have Luthor portrayed as a Christoper Mintz-Plasse "Red Mist" type character, otherwise a little whiny bitch who tries to act tough, only to have his ass handed to him over and over again, then it's just a bad idea. He will be goofy as Lex no matter what route you go down. So it might as well be a joke purposely!

  18. Freebird says:

    Eisenbergs a great and talented a tore and so is irons. I think the casting is great, but afleck is the inky one im concerned about, but he can pull it off. Everyone's complaining and whining, but i bet they are all gonna go see the movies anyways. The only thing i dont like is there are too many characters to fit into a two and a half hour movie

  19. johnrj08 says:

    I am greatly relieved that Snyder has cast Eisenberg as Lex Luthor. Previous Luthor's have been too macho and not cerebral enough. Actually, they've come off more like frustrated stand-up comics. In Social Network, Eisenberg displayed the kind of cold ruthlessness that Luthor has to possess. Add a dash of jealousy and anger toward Superman and you have a great villain.

  20. Ethan says:

    Personally I believe there is a lot of potential in casting Eisenberg for Luthor. Luthor has never been a direct physical adversary for Superman, most of his threat has been a result of his business acumen, focus, and drive. Take Eisenberg from The Social Network, make him more personable (slightly) and have him play a wunderkin responsible for driving Luthorcorps continued growth… Just like the Nolan Batman movies, until Bane in Returns, most of his adversaries were psychological or social threats. Rosenbaum from Smallville illustrated that money and power can be as threatening as any blatant physical presence…

  21. ethan says:

    i would say this movie would be good but affleck is not the right choice for batman christin bale was one of the best

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