There is plenty about the upcoming Batman V Superman movie which will be released in March 2016 that is going to be controversial among comic book fans and among fans of the characters portrayed in the film. Will people buy Ben Affleck as Batman? How will the destruction that took place in Man of Steel be addressed? Will the addition of the Wonder Woman character be a plus or a minus for the movie? Then, there are the obvious concerns about whether or not the movie will be any good when compared with the plethora of superhero blockbusters that have been released over the past several years.
One topic that has been making the rounds on social media websites and in forums is Jesse Eisenberg playing the role of Lex Luthor. Some Superman fans have not been able to envision Eisenberg being the famous villain. Such skepticism naturally led to discussions on which actors would make a better Lex Luthor than Jessie Eisenberg. Some names that are immediately recognized to even casual movie fans make the list. One of the actors who could have made a better Lex Luthor than Jesse Eisenberg has some experience playing the role, but it is not known if he would have been interested in doing so again.
10. Michael Rosenbaum
We understand that the television series Smallville was not everybody’s cup of tea. One person who has consistently been praised over the years for his work on the show was Michael Rosenbaum, who played a young Lex Luthor. Stan Lee, a legend of the comic book business, once, via a signed picture, referred to Rosenbaum as the “best Lex Luthor.” That is high praise from a man who certainly knows his stuff. Rosenbaum claimed in the summer of 2015 that he was not jealous that he would not be playing Luthor in Batman V Superman. Still, we can’t help but imagine Rosenbaum’s portrayal of Luthor coming to life on the big screen.
9. Adam Driver
It turns out, if certain reports on the matter are accurate, fans were not the only people looking for a different actor than Jesse Eisenberg to play the role of Lex Luthor. The Hollywood Reporter reported back in February 2014 that Adam Driver, from the HBO program Girls, was approached to take on the part. That story claims that Driver was unable to accept because he had a conflict. Let’s say, for arguments sake and in an imaginary world, that Driver’s schedule would have been free. The actor who played Kylo Ren in Star Wars: The Force Awakens unquestionably has the goods to play Superman’s top foe.
8. Joaquin Phoenix
The same Hollywood Reporter story that noted that Adam Driver was approached to play Lex Luthor also reported that Joaquin Phoenix was offered the gig. According to that story, Phoenix passed on the chance. We cannot know for sure, of course, how the studio would have had Phoenix portray the man who becomes one of the most reviled villains in the world. You have to admit, though, that the thought of Phoenix becoming Luthor is interesting. Odds are that, whatever would have been his take on Luthor, it would have been memorable and highly debated among those who would have either loved or hated Phoenix being Luthor.
7. Tom Hanks
Now we get to the part of the list where our imaginations maybe get the best of us. Tom Hanks was a name that was tossed out there in online stories in the winter of 2014 as speculation spread on who could have been given the role of Lex Luthor for Batman V Superman. Maybe it happened, and maybe the whole thing was just some rumor that somebody cooked up because he was bored one day. We cannot say that Hanks absolutely would have been a better Luthor than Jesse Eisenberg. It would have been worth the price of admission, though, to see the legendary actor play that role.
6. Andre Braugher
Ignore any previous stories you have read and watched regarding the Lex Luthor character, and instead focus on the man who could have played the role. Andre Braugher has a history of dabbling in comic book stories on multiple occasions. Braugher was the voice of Darkseid in the animated feature Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. From his work on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit to sitcom Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Braugher has left no doubt that he has the range to play just about any role. Imagine that unique and even haunting voice of Braugher’s reciting a line as Lex Luthor. Goosebumps.
5. Matthew Rhys
Matthew Rhys may be considered a dark horse to have won the role of Lex Luthor for Batman V Superman. Don’t be so down on the idea. In FX show The Americans, Rhys portrays Philip Jennings, a Soviet spy in the 1980s who has to hide as an everyday American husband and father when he is not serving as an interrogator and even a murderer. That two-faced personality sounds perfect for a new spin on Lex Luthor. While he has been involved in many other projects over the years, Rhys’ work in The Americans shows that he may have made a better Lex Luthor than Jesse Eisenberg.
4. Jon Hamm
OK, we admit that we picked up this idea from that “Funny or Die” video in which Jon Hamm humorously played Lex Luthor. Think about it for more than a few seconds, though, and you may realize that Hamm could be the perfect Luthor. Hamm is largely known for playing Donald Draper on the once-in-a-generation show Mad Men. Draper is essentially a conman who lies to just about everybody he knows, who uses his charm and his looks to get what he wants, and who cares very little about anybody else other than himself. Ladies and gentlemen, we present Lex Luthor!
3. Jared Leto
In January 2016, Brian Truitt of the USA Today wrote about how Jared Leto had gone all-in on playing The Joker for the movie Suicide Squad that will be released in the summer of 2016. According to Truitt, Leto would not break character during filming, to the point that he gifted some creepy presents to this fellow actors. That is the kind of dedication that one would love to see from an actor playing Lex Luthor. Being a mastermind who is equal parts successful businessman and super-villain is a full-time job, after all, and Leto could probably tackle that task without breaking a sweat.
2. Matthew McConaughey
We have two words for those who question whether or not Matthew McConaughey would be a believable Lex Luthor: True Detective. Yes, McConaughey would not be able to play a creepy southern detective who is involved in some shady dealings. The point is that the actor who has, in the past, been known for playing roles in romantic comedies and for being a heartthrob could dive into being the top villain who rises to prominence in a blockbuster superhero flick. If nothing else, McConaughey would have been a surprising pick that probably would have sold tickets just because people would want to see him play Luthor.
1. Bryan Cranston
Head on over to your favorite Internet search engine and look up “Bryan Cranston” and “Lex Luthor,” and you will see that you have plenty of material to read. There are many reasons for that, one of which being, of course, that the Walter White character famously played by Cranston looked so much like how Luthor has been portrayed in the past. It was thus just assumed by some that Cranston and not somebody such as Jesse Eisenberg would have won the role of Lex Luthor. As Cranston has explained, though, any talk about him playing Luthor in Batman V Superman was nothing more than hype. We wish that wasn’t the case – no disrespect to you, Mr. Eisenberg – because Cranston playing Luthor is a dream come true.