Home / Features / Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor.
Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor.

Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor.

5.) Casting a lesser known, out-of-the-box choice for villains has a history of redefining the characters in a good way. 

Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor. Yeah, I hate to be that guy, but Heath Ledger anyone? Alfred Molina as Doc Ock? Ian McKellan as Magneto? You get what I’m saying. Most of the time when the choice isn’t made on the actor’s name alone, there’s a very clear vision for the character and that’s a good thing.

4.) Jesse Eisenberg and his career are more flexible with showing up in multiple films than the other rumored actors (Joaquin Phoenix, Bryan Cranston etc.).

We don’t know the extent of Eisenberg’s deal, but wouldn’t it be awesome if Lex Luthor showed up in all the DC Cinematic Universe movies? Basically an evil version of Marvel’s Nick Fury? Bryan Cranston is way too busy for that and Joaquin Phoenix was never going to commit to that many films. It could happen, and that would be awesome.

3.) Physique does not make the villain.Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor.

Not to say Eisenberg isn’t fit, but he’s not exactly physically imposing, especially when put next to Henry Cavill. But isn’t that the point? For a smaller, weaker human to become possibly the greatest adversary of someone as powerful as the Man of Steel? Also, two words: Power. Suit. 

Opinion: Five reasons why Jesse Eisenberg will make a good Lex Luthor. 2.) Something drastic was needed in order to distance this Lex from what’s been done with the character in the films before.

After Gene Hackman’s campy take on Lex and Kevin Spacey’s slightly darker (but still campy) homage to Hackman, it’s time to stop casting the well-liked veteran actors in the role and try something different. Man of Steel was all about cutting any possible ties to the Christopher Reeve and Bryan Singer films, so the last thing they needed to do was copy their casting model.

1.)  Jesse Eisenberg has made his career on playing the smartest man in the room (that is also kind of a dick). 

With roles in The Social Network and Now You See Me both hinging on Eisenberg selling himself as a bona-fide genius, the guy is comfortable holding his own on intellect alone. His smarmy monologues in those films were dripping with poise, yet always retained just a hint of over-confidence. Picture this adjusted speech from The Social Network playing out instead as a dapper Lex Luthor preaches out his high-rise window to an annoyed, arms-crossed Superman.

I think if [my people] want to sit on my shoulders and call themselves tall, they have the right to give it a try – but there’s no requirement that I enjoy sitting here listening to people lie. You have part of my attention – you have the minimum amount. The rest of my attention is back at the offices of [LexCorp], where my colleagues and I are doing things that no one in this room, including and especially your [friend i.e. Batman], are intellectually or creatively capable of doing.

Yep, I’m in.

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  • Alex

    Jesse Eisenberg is second only to Michael Cera as Hollywood’s “go to” person for nebbishes and weak nerds. He’s whiny, unthreatening, looks like a child and thoroughly unimpressive… yet we’re supposed to buy him as Superman’s GREATEST ENEMY and a challange for both he and Batman???

    This is why the interwebs are having a collective conniption over this casting.

    • Matty Boy

      You know what? You’re right. How dare the producers think completely outside the box, casting an Oscar-nominated actor to play completely against type and step into the roles of an iconic supervillain.

      Oh wait… I’m getting a sense of deja vu. That’s right! We already went through this, when Heath Ledger was cast as The Joker. Every pimple-faced fanboy on the internet complained about that one, too. How many of them were still bitching after the movie came out?

      Oh, yeah. Zero.

      • Alex

        Halle Berry actually WON an Academy Award. That didn’t make her the best person to play Storm OR Catwoman, BOTH of which she stuck at portraying.

        Jesse Eisenberg is one of the LAST people who should be hired to play Lex Luthor. Unless you’re filming an outright spoof. :)

      • drummond

        Um, no. Many of us “fanboys” were excited about Heath Ledger from the start. He was a talented actor who had never been given a chance to show what he could do. Nolan casting him was credit enough for many of us.

        Snyder does not have this credit. Eisenberg is a talented actor, but he’s the complete opposite of what this character is. Let me respond to this article in all five points.

        5.) Ian, Alfred, and Heath were much better matches for their characters from the start. That isn’t even a remotely fair comparison.

        4.) Bryan Cranston would be too busy? Just like Samuel L. Jackson (who is in many more movies than Cranston), Scarlett Johanson, and Robert Downey Jr.? This is assuming DC even has an extended universe over the next five years. They clearly want one, but they’ve been flubbing it quite a bit so far.

        3.) Very true. But while physique doesn’t make the villain, PRESENCE does. Eisenberg can portray an ass and a nerd just fine, but not someone who holds real power; it’s more than just having money. I’d love to see more from him, but he’s the same insecure geek in every movie he’s been in so far, doesn’t matter if he’s fighting zombies or running a huge company.

        2.) It’s time to stop casting well-liked actors in the role? When has this EVER been true? Yes, sometimes odd casting decisions turn out great in the long run, but these are the exception, not the rule. You can’t cast Michael Cera as Darkseid or Peter Dinklage as Doomsday simply because you want to do something different. Doing something different for the sake of doing something different is a terrible way to do literally anything.

        1.) Both the roles you mentioned are of Eisenberg in positions of fame and power, and he radiates his character’s insecurities in each one of them. In The Social Network, he’s a powerful CEO that still wants that girl in college to like him, and he oozes that weakness the entire movie. It is, to a very real extent, what the entire movie is about. In Now You See Me he’s a popular magician that can’t even successfully hit on a gorgeous redhead who already has a huge crush on him, and he is constantly mocked by Woody Harrelson. Just like Lex, right?

        It’s great that you’re excited about this casting. I’m jealous of you, actually. Because you have something to look forward to. The other 99% of us, who know this is a terrible idea, don’t.

        • Daoofgeek

          The fact is, many, many people hated the idea of Ledger as The Joker (go back and look–a lot of people had him set up as a pretty boy without enough darkness to pull the Joker off). Not saying everyone (I loved Ledger and, though I wasn’t sure about it, was ready to give him the benefit of the doubt, most weren’t).

          The only problem I have is whether or not Eisenberg has the gravitas to carry a scene against a Supes or Bats. Granted, he is amazing with his monologues that do put me in mind of a confident and arrogant Lex.

          Other than Michael Rosenbaum, there hasn’t been a truly good Lex Luther in the Superman movie/tv world. Can Eisenberg do it? He’s a very good actor but that doesn’t mean he’s right for the role. Instead of wasting time and energy ranting against it, I’m taking the wait and see approach. Why do anything else at this point since we have no say in it?

          • drummond

            Good points, Daoofgeek. I’m actually not ranting against the casting decision. As you say, what good would that do? Rather, I’m ranting against this embarassingly inept defense of that casting. There may be decent arguments for Eisenberg, but boy does this writer fail to provide them. Points #5-#2 could apply just as well to casting Dakata Fanning as Lex. Saying things like “the role needs to be shaken up” and “Jesse has more time to be in multiple movies” only seem to highlight just how poor this casting decision was. Only his last point actually attempts to justify why Jesse himself would be a good fit, and not very well.

            True, many others doubted Ledger, I guess I can only speak for myself on that one. I never doubted Ledger, not with Nolan casting him. I have nothing but doubts with Eisenberg in this role. I’m genuinely curious: what monologues are you referring to? The only Eisenberg monologue I can think of is his “you have the minimum of my attention” one from the Social Network. While I feel he nails it, It’s the monologue of a petulant, insecure boy who gets defensive at a lawyer to the point of all but saying “I have more money than you, so you should feel lucky to even be talking to me.” It’s the kind of situation Lex would handle with only a look. The last line of the movie is Rashida Jones saying something along the lines of “I don’t think you’re a bad guy, you’re just trying so hard to be.” This sums up his villain potential perfectly.

            I’m not sure if you’d count Clancy Brown as a TV Lex, but I thought he was great. I even thought Kevin Spacey was good, or as good as he could be with the script he was given. And who knows? Maybe Eisenberg will surprise us. Maybe he’s just been typecast all these years. I would genuinely love to be wrong about this. I just currently can’t see how.

        • Nero-121

          99% of us? Talk for yourself. I honestly don’t care about DC vs Marvel, Superman bores the fuck out of me, any of his movies that people call classics are just fucking shit and boring. I am a 90′s child, I can’t even watch the old batman movies without cringing. I am excited to see this because if they cast an older, bolder (both sense of the word) man in the role it wouldn’t excite me but I am actually very keen to see how Jesse plays out. I was in a comic book shop the other day with my brother and he was talking to the check out chick and they were saying how heather ledger ruined the joker completely, you real comic book fan boys and girls expect to much, ANYTHING can and has been done on paper but that doesn’t mean you can do it on the screen. Look at superman returns, nearly everyone was perfect for their role in either looks or acting and yet it was a completely horrible movie, dont complain just sit back and watch it. And if your one of the guys who watches it in the movie once and comes to complain about every single flaw or detail right after getting home, the get a life fella. Movies are for entertainment, regardless of their source whether its comic books, books, original scripts, or whatever its for entertainment so enjoy it ffs and stop bitching

          • drummond

            Woah there, calm down, Nero. I was expressing an opinion on what I felt to be a badly written article. Perhaps 99% is a little high, I’ll grant you that, but this isn’t exactly a 50/50 split. For everyone online saying Eisenberg is a good choice, there’s dozens of others saying the opposite, and I don’t think they’re just the vocal minority. I feel that expecting Snyder to not cast one of the five worst choices for the role isn’t “expecting too much”.

            Movies ARE for entertainment. So when a movie that had promise to be very entertaining releases news that it’s likely NOT going to be entertaining, it blows a little bit. I don’t complain about every detail; most details don’t really matter. But this is a pretty big one.

            Superman Returns had a bad script. Casting means nothing when the script is bad. The same cast could have worked wonderfully if the movie had been well-written. I’m a little confused, what’s wrong with complaining about a bad movie? You know, like you just did in your comment? Like your brother did with Heath Ledger as the Joker? What’s wrong with expressing an opinion? When you dislike something, do you seriously never mention that to anyone? Because your comment is rather aggressive for someone who apparently never complains.

      • Robert Colontonio

        winning an oscar does not mean you are the best.it just means the people who did the voting picked you.it’s just an opinion.how many times did someone you liked not get nominated.does that mean the person sucked or does it just mean you had a different opinion.awards don’t mean shit.i personally think he is a overrated stiff emotionless d-list actor who is the male version of kristen stewart.although in this example i think i insulting kristen more than eisenturd.

  • SomeGuy

    Totally agree with this article. Eisenberg is one of the most interesting actors around today.

    • Theron

      That’s incredibly untrue. The only reason anyone thinks he’s interesting now is because he’s got the Lex Luthor role. Before this news, he was just “that annoying awkward Michael Cera guy”

      • Darby O’ Gill

        To a bitter butthole like you, perhaps

    • Saunderizer

      Thanks for the input Jesse!

  • The Walking Cuban

    He’s not topher grace trying to play a loser and a psychotic monster. He’s Jesse Eisenberg playing a megalomaniac. I can’t say it’ll be fine, I don’t know that, but I’m still leaning in favor of this.

  • Robert Colontonio

    he is completely overrated.he is a male kristen stewart. i hated him since superbad which was a piece of shit movie in itself.having him play lex luthor will be a major mistake.he is a stiff single emotioned mannequin who shouldn’t be allowed to act in an elementary school play.

    • http://www.nerdrepository.com Brent Hankins

      Editor’s Note: Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t in ‘Superbad.’

    • http://nerdrepository.com/ Brent Hankins

      Editor’s Note: Jesse Eisenberg wasn’t in ‘Superbad.’

      • Robert Colontonio

        sorry. i get him and cera mixed up.still hated superbad and i still hate eisenberg.

        • Andrew Arnold

          You were having a piss, weren’t you? (yanking our chain?)

          • Robert Colontonio

            i realize now it wasn’t jesse in superbad as Hankins pointed out to me.the movie still sucked as does eisenberg in everything he is in.i’m not really sure what your comment is referring to as i don’t speak gibberish.

          • Andrew Arnold

            I was insinuating that you were purposely conflating the two actors (as it is common for people to mistake one for the other) for comedic effect. If you couldn’t pick up on that, I’ll chalk it up to the lack of subtleties and nuance in the written word.

          • Robert Colontonio

            no sorry. i did not pick up on the conflating insinuation that i was possibly being facetious or capricious but instead genuinely befuddled.yeah,i got the thesaurus app too.

          • Andrew Arnold

            That’s great that you have access to a thesaurus, but I got my word-learnin’ the old fashioned way.

          • Robert Colontonio

            prostitution?

          • Andrew Arnold

            I didn’t say the ‘oldest’ way… but that was a good one.

    • scott

      yeah…superbad was michael cera…

  • Andrew Arnold

    When I first heard the news, I’d recently seen “Now You See Me, Now You Don’t” and so my face made the same look as when a kid eats one of those sour Warheads candies. But based on Michael Keaton and Heath Ledger, I’ll give him a chance.

  • Theron

    “Physique doesn’t make the villain” is not a reason why Eisenberg would make a good Lex Luthor, it’s a reason why anyone could be a good Lex Luthor. Meaning that point doesn’t matter or play in his favor at all since it can be applied to anyone. Making that point is like saying “Jeffrey Dean Morgan would make a good Cyborg because race doesn’t matter”.

    • http://NerdRep.com/ Kyle Wilson

      Of course it’s a reason because it’s a direct complaint that comes up against him on the internets. If a fan’s main reason to discount him is not physically fitting the bill, the fact that physique really doesn’t matter is a reason he can be good.

  • Darby O’ Gill

    I couldn’t have said it better myself!

  • Peter

    I’ll give you a hundred reasons why he’s a bad choice.. For one, he’s a lame actor, with very little tricks in his acting bag, every character that he played is almost the same.. no transformation at all. This also goes for Afleck too, lame choice…
    I was a big fan of Nolan, and I even put a side the fact that Inception is not original at all, it’s just a version of Japanese anime cartoon called Paprika, and now whit cast of Superman vs Batman just disappointed me a lot.

    • Jason Lane

      Every movie is a copy of something else genius. You lost all credibility.

    • Jonathan

      I don’t think Nolan is much of an anime kind of guy…
      Also, he was working on the script for Inception since Memento, meaning that he couldn’t possibly have ripped off a 2006 anime.

  • Jason Lane

    Everyone view these comments because everyone here is a movie producer. How about just wait and see what the movie even is before making ignorant comments. If people were so smart they would be making films instead of making baseless criticisms.

  • Paulo André Silveira Júnior

    Luthor is not the nerdy human who clashes with the handsome alien, he’s more like the guy who thinks he’s so superior that only the man of steel would provide a worthy challenge. Compare Superman Doomsday’s Lex with the psychological profile of Commodus in Gladiator. Now that’s a proper arch enemy, his crying, manipulative and mischievious ways are what Luthor is all about!

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