In their report about the Batman vs. Superman release date delay, Variety claimed to have inside sources telling them that Joaquin Phoenix (Her) is still very much up for the role of Lex Luthor in the film. In fact, “ball in his court” was the idiom referenced to explain the current situation.
When Variety dropped the first Phoenix casting rumor late last year, fans were instantly intrigued by the notion that it was Lex he was playing. Despite the antics surrounding his 2010 mockumentary, I’m Still Here, Joaquin Phoenix has come back and proven his acting prowess with standout performances in The Master and Her. The actor seemed to inspire hopes of a much more layered and complex Lex, rather than the hammy megalomania that actors like Gene Hackman or Kevin Spacey brought to the role – an approach that people seemed to expect from the other Lex casting favorite, Breaking Bad‘s Bryan Cranston (i.e., that old “Walter White/Heisenberg rountine”).
Personally speaking, the necessary switch between corporate tycoon – possible political shark – and evil genius is something that I would entrust to no one less than Joaquin Phoenix. I can see him in a board room matching wits and veiled threats with Bruce Wayne; I can see him staring down Superman in a public form, or trying to break his neck in a rabid superpowered third-act battle. I also see in Phoenix the necessary components of Lex – the smugness, psychotic indifference, god-complex mania, and most importantly, total conviction that he is mankind’s savior against “The alien.”
That’s all to say: I want this rumor to be true – do you?
Batman vs. Superman will be in theaters on May 6, 2016.