And the news just keeps on coming. Whether it’s crazy casting rumors/confirmations or the release date being pushed back, the upcoming Batman/Superman film has consistently been in the news for what seems like months. For better or worse, one thing Warner Brothers has done a fantastic job with is surprising the masses regarding their casting choices. With each of the major casting choices so far (Affleck and Gadot), the studio has dangled “potential” talent in front of the faces of media and fans alike, only to choose someone completely off the books, creating a singular phrase for the entirety of the masses to simultaneously think to themselves: “HUH?” This is exactly what the WB and DC did on Friday as well, when they announced that Jeremy Irons would be playing Alfred Pennyworth, Bruce Wayne’s butler, and that Jesse Eisenberg would be playing the arch-nemesis to Superman, Lex Luthor.
Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth
Where this casting differs from the others (other than the fact that it’s not for a “super” character) is that it seems generally very well received. Irons is a world class actor of both stage and film, appearing in numerous stage productions as well as films like Margin Call, Reversal of Fortune, Kingdom of Heaven and the voice of Scar in The Lion King. Well respected and unbelievably talented, Irons has brought a sense of presence and intensity to his roles. As an actor, Irons has garnered a reputation for appearing in subpar films in which he churns out brilliant performances regardless. While, personally, I was more in favor of a more-seasoned Alfred due to Affleck’s more seasoned Bruce Wayne/Batman, I think Irons will bring something very special to the table. The idea of having a much smaller gap between Affleck and Irons, unlike the 40-year gap between Bale and Caine, brings some potential for more of a fatherly or friendly presence, rather than the elder mentor that was represented in Nolan’s trilogy. While we all miss Caine’s portrayal of Alfred, I truly believe fans have received the next best thing.
Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor
Much like the other casting for this highly anticipated sequel, the news of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor has been met with mixed to fairly negative response. Eisenberg has received his fair share of acclaim as well, starring in well-received films like Zombieland and Adventureland, as well as receiving an Academy Award nomination for his performance as Mark Zuckerburg in The Social Network. While I am rarely against a studio recruiting talented actors and actresses for major blockbuster comic book films, what does worry me is that Eisenberg has never branched out from his archetype as an actor. In all of the films mentioned above, Eisenberg plays a somewhat nerdy, anti-social introvert, and while he does pull off that character-type very well, those traits do not fit the description of the sturdy and powerful Lex Luthor. And although some will say that giving him the chance to branch out could help him find another side of himself and bring fans a fantastic performance (much like Heath Ledger with The Joker), with the rest of the DC Cinematic Universe resting on the fate of this film, I think it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea to go with some of the safer choices for the character like the rumored Bryan Cranston or Joaquin Phoenix.
So I’ve shared my opinions on the newest confirmed casting in the DC Cinematic Universe, but I want to know yours. Do you think Jeremy Irons and/or Jesse Eisenberg were good casting decisions? Or is there someone you would have cast in front of them? With Eisenberg now playing Lex Luthor, what direction do you think DC and WB are trying to spin this universe? Sound off in the comments below, I’d love to hear your thoughts…
Article by Nick Franco