Many great actors have taken up the role of Lex Luthor over the years. Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, and Michael Rosenbaum all left their respective marks on the power-hungry scientist/businessman from Metropolis, but next month we’ll see Jesse Eisenberg’s take on the nefarious DC Comics baddie in ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice’. Though the response to the legendary villain has been divisive so far (especially after the second trailer for the follow up to ‘Man of Steel’ dropped), this iteration certainly sounds like there could be some potential in old/new Lex yet. And to back that up, the ‘Social Network’ and ‘Zombieland’ star recently weighed in with his approach to the character.
While speaking to Playboy, Eisenberg talked about the way he handled Luthor in Zack Snyder’s upcoming superhero smackdown. He started by describing the different layers that he chose to explore in order to craft his version of the sinister tech genius:
“The character is in line with what audiences want to see now, which is a more modern, psychologically realistic concept of Lex Luthor. His motivations are multifaceted; he has a way of using language that’s specific to the way his mind works; he struggles with interesting philosophical dilemmas like that of the individual having too much power, even if that individual is using that power for good. For instance, Superman has so far been using his powers to do some good, but is it safe to have someone like that walking the streets? It’s great that all of this happens in the context of a very exciting superhero movie.”
The young actor then went on to say that he took some cues from the ancient Greeks and their method to theater. This would definitely explain the almost Riddler-esque theatricality and cadence of his verbose diatribes discussing the Dark Knight and the Last Son of Krypton in the trailers:
“He reminds me of one of those characters in old Greek theater who very explicitly state the philosophical dilemma at hand and put it in a way that feels in line with that character’s interests and voice. He speaks in broad themes and ideas: That’s what makes the character very theatrical and yet authentic. This is the kind of role actors really like to play because you don’t feel like it’s a problem if you color outside the lines. I can be as funny as I want to be in the context of my character behaving poorly, and I can be as sad as I want because the character’s also going through real internal conflict. Take it as far as you want and be as theatrical as you want to be – it’s all correct.”
Eisenberg certainly has a unique outlook on the latest live-action iteration of Lex Luthor. While I’m remaining cautiously optimistic, we can’t really judge fully until the film is released next month. However, if you feel like judging a little bit, feel free to sound off in the comments below.
‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Jeremy Irons, Holly Hunter, and Jesse Eisenberg hits theaters on March 25, 2016.