Here's 7 Actors Who Would Be Great as Lex Luthor in 'Man of Steel 2'
by Ethan Anderton
August 12, 2013
Names have already surfaced for some potential casting choices to play an older, veteran Batman in the gestating Man of Steel 2 at Warner Bros. Josh Brolin is among some of the possibilities, but it's still early days. There's also one other pivotal role that's in question, and that's Superman's arch nemesis Lex Luthor. The villain is rumored to be in the sequel, and last week Mark Strong (Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern) and Bryan Cranston ("Breaking Bad") were said to be in the running. But again, those are just rumors, and we've thought of some actors who might fit the part, some of them you won't expect. Read on!
While Strong and Cranston are both fine actors, their more prominent roles have already seen them as villainous, intimidating characters somewhat similar to Luthor. Also, it seems a little too easy to pick those actors since audiences are accustomed to seeing them both as bald on the big and small screen. So without further adieu, here are seven talented actors who we think might make Lex Luthor a hell of a villain:
This is probably my favorite choice for the role, if only because Clarke is on the verge of becoming a huge star. After a strong performance in Zero Dark Thirty and a forthcoming lead role in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, Clark is pretty busy. The actor has the thriller Child 44, the mountain climbing drama Everest and Stephen Gaghan's Candy Store on the way as well. But following a villainous turn in White House Down (that apparently a lot of people didn't see after looking at the box office numbers), maybe this would be a better opportunity for the bad guy role. After all, Clarke was pretty damn intimidating as Wysocki in "The Chicago Code" on Fox, so we know he can shake a stick at Superman.
Though his more famous turns in films like Men in Black 3, Lincoln, Hugo and A Serious Man don't really give an indicator that Stuhlbarg would be a force to be reckoned with as a comic book villain, his work in "Boardwalk Empire" certainly shows he has a menacing side. Man of Steel villain Michael Shannon also came from the HBO crime drama series, so why not draw from that impressive pool of actors again? Stuhlbarg has a gift of powerful performances that are also subtle, and without the melodrama that sometimes floods comic book villains.
After going bald for Elysium and delivering one of his career defining turns as Jason Bourne in film series that started with The Bourne Identity, maybe it's time for Damon to play a dark figure again for the first time since The Talented Mr. Ripley in 1999. Damon might not be up for shaving his head again so soon, but taking an A-list start and putting him in a role like this would be pretty damn great. The only hindrance might be Damon's desire to keep writing and directing, and Warner Bros. would likely want to lock Damon down for multiple films, and that could prove to be pretty expensive.
Behind Jason Clarke, this might be my second favorite choice for the role of Lex Luthor. Unless you watched "Brothers & Sisters" or caught the first season of "The Americans" on FX earlier this year, you might not be familiar with Rhys at all. But his work on the latter TV series is full of great potential for a comic book villain, especially in the grittier and mostly grounded world that director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer have created for such an out of this world superhero. Rhys is quiet, stoic even, but has a single glare is full of contempt and mystery, making him a great Lex Luthor.
Now before you shake your head in furl your brow in confusion or skepticism, remember how easy it was to hate Zane because of his smarmy, douchebag performance in Titanic. Take that into account with his underrated skill as a campy comic book hero in The Phantom, and this is a guy who can pull of Lex Luthor quite well, in my opinion. Though I'd be worried that Zane might push the role over the top a bit and thus not fit with the world created in Man of Steel, there's just something about his screen presence that gives me faith he can pull it off.
Michael C. Hall
After eight seasons as the serial killer of serial killers, Hall will be looking for a return to the big screen (audiences will see him in Kill Your Darlings later this year), and taking on an iconic role like this might be just what the doctor ordered. After all, though Hall's turn in "Dexter" isn't exactly a ad guy role, and there's plenty of evidence that he has the dramatic chops to face off against someone like Superman. There's even a hint of his potential turn as Luthor with his bit part in the forgettable sci-fi action thriller Gamer with Gerard Butler, and even his threats sounds dulcet in their execution, making them all the more intimidating.
That's right, I've decided to include a prominent black actor in the mix for a villain role that has been consistently depicted as white and thus played by several white actors. But it's 2013, and if Snyder has changed up the world of Superman to where Lois Lane knows Clark Kent is Superman, Laurence Fishburne is playing Perry White anyway, and Superman has killed on the big screen for the first time ever, then a black Lex Luthor doesn't seem all that crazy. Ejiorfor has been mostly seen on the big screen as a supporting actor in films like Love Actually, Children of Men, American Gangster and 2012, but his lead performance in the forthcoming 12 Years a Slave looks Oscar worthy, and this would be one hell of a follow up for an actor who has deserved a big breakthrough role for a long time now. As long as people don't shallowly cling to the idea of Lex Luthor being white, Ejiofor would be a hell of a pick.
So there you have it. We're not sure what direction Zack Snyder wants to go with Lex Luthor, but all of these names would fit the bill rather spectacularly in the sequel, and it would be great to keep them around in a franchise role like this, especially if Luthor is a prominent bad guy in a future where Justice League might become a reality. With production on Man of Steel 2 slated to begin early next year for a release in the summer of 2015, you can bet Warner Brothers will likely have someone lined up for the role of Superman's nemesis before the end of the year. Who would you want to play Lex Luthor in Man of Steel 2?