CBT’s Warriors Three Cast: Lex Luthor
With all this talk of Bryan Cranston being cast as Lex Luthor in the upcoming Man of Steel sequel (which is totally not true), Comic Book Therapy’s Warriors Three decided to tackle the casting in our latest efforts of pretending like our opinions matter. We still don’t know for sure that Superman’s most famous foe will even play a role in the film, but we’re thinking it’s a fairly safe bet, even if it’s not in a fully villainous capacity.
You don’t have to be a big fan of comic books to know that the Lex Luthor character takes a certain actor to execute it properly. In the original series, we saw the ever intriguing Gene Hackman tackle the role and for that series, his more comedic approach was fitting. Fast forward to 2006 and Academy Award winner Kevin Spacey took on the challenge. His take was a much more menacing version, but still left something to be desired. So where do we go from here? So far, we know that Henry Cavill will be reprising his role as Superman and Ben Affleck will don the cape and cowl to play a more seasoned Batman. Should they bring Luthor in, it will be interesting to see the direction they take: older, more established versus a younger, more brash businessman? Will he play a more physical threat or stick with the more intellectual bad ass? Hopefully we’ll find out sooner rather than later. In the mean time, here’s our take on who should be cast in the iconic role.
CODY: My first choice for Lex Luthor would have to be Ralph Fiennes. Ben Affleck casting has proven that anything is possible when it comes to the new DC Cinematic Universe. Fiennes is a fine actor, I think we can all agree on that. He has a presence on screen that just demands your attention. He can play baddies really well too. He can go from charming and calm to a menacing presence with the flick of a switch. That’s Lex Luthor. Fiennes is a little older than Cavill and Affleck at 50, but I think that’s what (insert whatever the Man of Steel sequel title will be here) needs. I think a Lex Luthor that didn’t have to be THE Lex Luthor until the battle of Metropolis is a fascinating idea. He’s always been the big shot business man, but when Superman arrived, he realized he wasn’t as great as he thought he was. That flips the switch and sets him on the “Lex” course. I think Fiennes could do that very well.
JAKE: I like Fiennes as an actor; however he just looks a little old to me for the part. A lot of the actors that we have chosen are older actors, but Feinnes just seems to really show his age. Lex has always been older than Clark, but not more than by 10 years. I realize that they won’t follow the comics to a T, but I would like to see someone younger looking. I wouldn’t hate it if he got it though.
JOSH: Fiennes is one of those actors where I’d watch him in anything, he’s that damn good. Cast him as Wonder Woman and I’d watch. I agree with Jake in that he may be a bit older than what they are looking for, but I still think he’s a solid choice. He’s got the villain thing down to a T; he was out-right scary at times while playing Voldamort in the Harry Potter films and his more silent but mad approach to his villainous role in Schindler’s List is incredible. I wouldn’t complain if he landed the role.
JAKE: Stay with me on this, but my #1 choice for Lex Luthor is Christian Bale. However, due to him just coming out of The Dark Knight franchise I highly doubt that he will be willing to come aboard to another superhero adaptation that would require him to sign on for multiple movies. Bale has a great on screen charisma that Lex needs to have, but also has that crazy streak in him that comes out every so often on movie sets. I think he would be able to find that right balance of charismatic and crazy.
JOSH: Right off the bat, I’d say it’s too soon for Bale to take on yet another iconic comic book role. Having said that, he’d own the hell out of it. If he were to channel just a small part of the crazy he had in American Psycho (emphasize “small part”), he’d be great in the role. But I think there is just too much association to Batman and for him to show up as Lex would blow the minds of movie-goers.
CODY: I think Bale would be a good choice IF it wasn’t so soon after The Dark Knight Rises. You see him as Lex and you’re just waiting for him to turn to the camera and wink when he says something about Batman. Get him back in a comic book movie role for sure, but let a few more years pass.
JOSH: My first choice is none other than Kiefer Sutherland. Odd, right? But let’s look at this for a minute. Remember the movie Phone Booth from 2002? The intriguing premise of the film aside, one of the best parts of that movie was Kiefer Sutherland. Yeah, you never see his face, but the voice! Oh, that voice! He was sinister, dark, threatening and powerful, all traits we need in Lex. He’s an actor with proven skill and a big enough name to be a draw for the box office. He’s spent so much time being a hero on 24, I think it’s time he jumps back over to the dark side.
CODY: This isn’t a bad choice, it just doesn’t excite me in any way. He’s a good actor but I’ve just never been a big Kiefer fan. His dad is great though. I’m just rambling on now. I can’t really critique this one other than “eh.”
JAKE: I love this choice! Would have went with it myself, but Josh is the one that brought it up. Sutherland is a great actor, and even when he is the good guy, such as in 24, he has this hint of being a total ass which is what I see in Lex. He is just a guy that has good intentions he is just goes about them in the totally wrong way. Josh is right, Kiefer has been a hero for far too long, and needs to reinvent himself with by stepping out of the hero mold for a bit for and do a villain.
My #2 choice, I’ll go with Viggo Mortensen. Mortensen was rumored to be up for the role of Zod in Man Of Steel, a role that ultimately went to Michael Shannon. However, I really think that he is more well suited for a role such as Luthor. While he can look like heroic type, he also has this sinister look to him that just sends chills down your spine. One of those I trust him, but I know I shouldn’t, and to me that exactly what they need. It also doesn’t hurt that he is an extremely talented actor as well.
CODY: I can’t really fault this pick. I don’t see him as Luthor physically myself, but I can see him bringing the role what it needs. I think there are better choices out there but I wouldn’t be mad if he got it. So what I’m saying is I agree, but I don’t think he’s one of the top actors right for it.
JOSH: Like Ralph Fiennes, I’d watch Viggo in any film. I love his approach to film, the way he immerses himself into every role he takes on and I think that would take his version of Lex to a level we’ve never seen before. Like Cody said, I think there are more fitting actors, but I’d certainly not argue his casting.
CODY: My more oddball choice for Lex would be Corey Stoll. He’s a rising star. He’s been in a lot of great movies, TV shows, and plays but hasn’t quite exploded just yet. House of Cards is a great display of his range. If you take away all the screw-ups of Rep. Peter Russo and tweak it just a hair or two, you could get a pretty good Lex. Stoll looks good bald, and can be quite menacing and serious. It’s more of a left-field choice, but I think it could work. It would be something different and fresh. You go “Oh, BEN AFFLECK is Batman and that guy from that other thing is Lex.” He doesn’t have any baggage coming in. He can completely take over and own the role without people talking about a past role or about him being ‘too big a name’ for Lex.
JAKE: I’ve been pretty familiar with most of these people, however Stoll I am not. He has the look I’ll give him that. Reminds me a little bit of Cavill, I wasn’t exposed too much to him, but I have heard really good things. I wouldn’t completely jump ship on the casting if he got it, but I really wouldn’t be excited either. I would just be in wait and see mode, and hope that he would surprise me like Cavill did.
JOSH: Corey Stoll is a huge up-and-comer and will certainly go places. He’s done well with House of Cards and think he’ll get even more exposure once people see him in Guillermo Del Toro’s series The Strain in a few months. I worry he’s not quite known enough YET to take on the role. But that could play to his advantage.
My second option is Henry Rollins. Now, hear me out on this one. I was quite surprised at how good of an actor Rollins is. I got to witness this skill with his appearance on the hit series Sons of Anarchy, where he played a rather menacing baddy who was relentless in his goals. Again, a trait that is very prevalent in nearly all iterations of Luthor. He can portray both intelligence and brute strength without giving in on either front. He’s no stranger to the DC world either, as he has done voice-over work in several animated series and film, most recently Green Lantern: Emerald Knights as Kilowog. This just may be my most out-of-left-field choice to date, but I think this one could work.
JAKE: No, no, and no. I just cannot stand Henry Rollins really in anything he does. I may be the minority in that, but he just gets under my skin. Lex is a bad guy you almost root for, because most of the time his heart is in the right place, he just makes the complete wrong decision when it comes to getting the result. There is nothing about Rollins that makes me want to root for him, and maybe that is the type of Lex they will go for. But for me Rollins is a miss.
CODY: He is a good actor. He’s an incredibly intelligent person in real life as well. Watch some of his interviews and when he had his own show as well. I think the only problem with this pick is that you want someone you think won’t ACTUALLY kill Superman, Batman, insert other hero he’s facing off with for whatever story here. You want to know that Luthor is menacing and vicious, but Superman will win. If Rollins is Lex, then I’m pretty sure Superman is screwed. I don’t think he’s a guy that can tone it down. So basically it’s a great choice, but Rollins is TOO MUCH of a badass to do it.
Yeah, that’s a pretty wide range of actors listed there and every single one of them would bring a new and different version of Lex Luthor to the big screen. Again, we don’t know if Luthor will be making an appearance in the upcoming sequel, but I think it’s a pretty safe bet. I actually really like the idea that Coy had, where Superman’s arrival is the catalyst that sends Lex over the edge to become the villain we all know. It’s in intriguing idea for sure. Filming is expected to begin in the first half of 2014, so I think we can expect to start hearing more news on new characters, cat additions and story in the coming months. You can of course, keep checking back to ComicBookTherapy for all the latest news on that front. If there’s a character in an upcoming film you’d like us to tackle, let us know! Yo ucan check out our past installments by clicking HERE.
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