Jesse Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor in Batman-Superman casting surprise

The "Social Network" star will be ditching those curls to play Lex Luthor.
Posted By Kate Stanton  |  Jan. 31, 2014 at 7:10 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Jan. 31 (UPI) -- Director Zak Snyder hasn't been afraid to make bold casting choices for his upcoming Man of Steel sequel, the untitled Batman-Superman flick -- he sent comic book fans into a frenzy last year with the announcement that Ben Affleck step into the Batsuit.

He shocked fans again on Friday, when Warner Brothers announced that Jesse Eisenberg, best known for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, would play follicly challenged Superman nemesis Lex Luthor.

It's definitely an unexpected decision, especially for fans who had hoped to see Bryan Cranston in the role. Others are concerned about Eisenberg's youth, though at 30 years old, he's the same age as Superman's Henry Cavill.

"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman's rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," Snyder said in a 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."

Warner Brothers also confirmed the more straightforward casting of Jeremy Irons as Bruce Wayne's butler, guardian and mentor, Alfred.

"As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne's most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure," Snyder said. 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 façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne."

We'll have to wait a while to see Eisenberg in action. Batman vs. Superman doesn't open till May 6, 2016.

[MTV News, Deadline]

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