‘Batman vs. Superman’: Joaquin Phoenix Eyed for a Role – Is It Lex Luthor?

Published 1 year ago by

joaquin phoenix batman vs superman Batman vs. Superman: Joaquin Phoenix Eyed for a Role   Is It Lex Luthor?

Here’s the state of things, as far as casting goes for Batman vs. Superman – director Zack Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer’s followup to their Superman reboot, Man of Steel. Joining return cast members Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane are Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot (Fast & Furious 6as Wonder Woman and possibly Jason Momoa (Game of Thrones) in a role speculated to be anything from iconic Superman villain Doomsday to another member of the Justice League, Martian Manhunter.

But what of long-rumored antagonist/villain Lex Luthor, whose appearance in the next Superman installment has been rumored ever since the LexCorp logo popped up in Man of Steel atop a skyscraper and on a couple of trucker tanks (among other places)?

Variety is reporting that Oscar-nominee Joaquin Phoenix – currently earning acclaim for his performance in Spike Jonze’s Golden Globe-nominated modern romance/sci-fi drama Her – is Warner Bros.’ preferred candidate to play an unspecified role in Batman vs. Superman, which is believed to be that of the film’s “main antagonist”L. Luthor, in all likelihood. However, the site cautions that the situation is very much in flux; meaning, Phoenix has only begun to weigh the offer, and could end up instead accepting a role in a project like Gus Van Sant’s latest film, Sea of Trees.

Lex Luthor Casting Batman vs Superman Batman vs. Superman: Joaquin Phoenix Eyed for a Role   Is It Lex Luthor?

Phoenix, who turned 40 this year, is within the predicted age bracket we had for Luthor in Batman vs. Superman (older than Cavill as Clark Kent, but not too seasoned), though he’s a left-field choice for the role compared to the 5 actors we nominated – assuming that Phoenix is, indeed, up to portray the brilliant, but diabolical billionaire – yet also, very much an intriguing choice to portray the charming, yet loathsome, Luthor.

The method actor is best known for playing sensitive and emotionally-volatile types (see: Walk the Line, The Master, and so forth) – not so much coiled strategists, like the recent rumored Luthor candidate Denzel Washington - which includes his love-to-hate ‘em antagonist in Gladiator. Problem is, Phoenix doesn’t often (if ever) work outside of non-mainstream and/or indie fare (see: his upcoming role in P.T. Anderson’s stoner neo-noir Inherent Vice).

Batman vs. Superman starring Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill1 570x294 Batman vs. Superman: Joaquin Phoenix Eyed for a Role   Is It Lex Luthor?

That said: it would be interesting to see Phoenix play Luthor as more of an eccentric industrialist, especially if he were to be recruited by the government to investigate and take Superman down a peg, as happened in the “New 52″ comic book relaunch.

Indeed, in that continuity, Kal-El and Bruce Wayne’s shared disdain for Luthor is something that ends up uniting them, despite their striking differences in philosophy and outlook – could something similar happen in Batman vs. Superman? It would be in keeping with Goyer’s approach to the DC universe  (i.e. tapping into modern political concerns, about government officials getting into bed with the ultra-rich, etc.)…

How about it, Screen Ranters: do you like the idea of Joaquin Phoenix as Lex Luthor?


Batman vs. Superman opens in theaters on July 17th, 2015.

Source: Variety

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  1. Heroes:
    Superman: Henry Cavill
    Batman: Ben Affleck
    Wonder Woman: Gal Gadot
    The Flash: Adam Driver
    Aquaman: Jason Momoa
    Green Lantern: Daniel Dae Kim
    Cyborg: Brandon T. Jackson

    Lex Luthor: Denzel Washington
    Riddler: Chris Rock
    Cheetah: Rebel Wilson
    Captain Cold: Jack Black
    Black Manta: Eddie Murphy
    Sinestro: Mark Strong
    Gorilla Grodd: Andy Serkis

    • Eddie Murphy?
      Chris Rock?
      Jack Black?

      you must be kidding.

      • Yes I am.

        • Put in Marlon Wayans, Will Ferrell, Amy Poehler and Adam Sandler too. lol

          • Brainiac: Adam Sandler
            Bizarro: Marlon Wayans
            Solomon Grundy: Will Ferrell
            Giganta: Amy Poehler

            • Joaquin Phoenix as Toyman

      • Lawrence, you spelled “trolling” wrong.

        • Not trolling, was just making a joke.

          • Well at least now you know that sarcasm doesn’t translate well in written form. ;)

    • Rebel Wilson as the Cheetah killed me =))

    • Solomon Grundy: CGI Andre the Giant

  2. Joaquin Phoenix nailed Johnny Cash, so the guy is a very capable actor. And he proved in Gladiator that he can be conniving – if not in a pathetic, whiny way. I’m for this decision should it come to pass. Lately it seems I find myself more pleased with the less obvious choice.

  3. Why not Michael Owen Rosenbaum , who was the orginal in Smallville. He made a better Lex. What do you think?

    • A better Lex as compared to what?
      The Lex Luthor nobody has seen Phoenix play?

      Either way, my opinion is a resounding “hell no.”

  4. I like Joaquin Phoenix for the modern, more realistic take on Lex Luthor. I just hope they dont have Lex be a “one-and-done” villain and his story arc lasts more than one movie. Lex Corp and Lex himself need to be the driving force behind Superman’s continued struggles through the DCMU. The real questions will we see Lex’s armor????!?!?! (hope it’s not too ironman-ish…they need something unique like the Injustice Lex suit.

    He was great as Commodus in Gladiator, he also was a good anti-hero/villain in We Own the Night. to any doubters: If you haven’t seen The Master or Walk the Line yet, go rent that NOW!

    I agree that, Javier Bardem would be a great Batman style villain –> Joker, Riddler, etc.

    • Because that’s exactly what he played in Skyfall and No Country for Old Men.

    • If you watch MOS Zods armor looks almost identical to the Lex Luthors armor in comics and Zod came out his armor on the Lex Luthor construction site. So i’m thinking Lex will slap a paint job on Zods armor and make it his.

  5. i think we are in for a disaster and a flop in this new movie.

    • It must suck to be one of those to think that.

    • I give it 50/50 hit or flop, just because it’s comic book movie doesn’t mean it’s guaranteed to be a hit.

    • It will not financially folop but it will be a sh*t movie.

      • …not because of the cast, but because, aside from Watchmen, Zack Snyder is a talentless hack.

    Okay, okay, I’m sorry. But I have always thought Phoenix was one of the ideal actors that could play the Joker down the line. I’m not saying I think that is what Snyder and co. are going for, but I am shriek-worthily excited at the mere idea that they could be casting Joaquin Phoenix to appear in a scene as the Joker, establishing later confrontations in future Batman movies.
    I will try not to pin too much hope on this speculation. Maybe Phoenix would be a great Luthor. I’m sure Phoenix will be good where ever they put him (hopefully). Just saying, I will scream with joyous craziness if its the Joker.

    • Didnt even think of that, he would make for an interesting Joker.
      Not sure I want to see the Joker in this one, but if done right my mind could be changed.

    • I don’t really want them to use The Joker, I’d rather see some villains who haven’t recieved the big screen treatment yet, Hush for example.

    • Wow, what a thought. If anyone thinks that Heath Ledger (or Nicholson or Mark Hamill) was edgy…Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker could be so weird and twisted that it would absolutely blow our minds. Holy cow. That makes more sense to me than Lex Luthor, but Phoenix is such a fantastic actor that I can’t argue with it either way.

  7. I can totally see Phoenix as Luthor. He’s a great actor. He has the range for this role. If this rumor is true, im excited to see what he brings to the table.

  8. He’s not someone who would have came to mind immediately when picturing Lex Luthor, but the more I imagine him bald in my head, the more I think he can pull off the look. And it is undeniable that he has the acting chops to pull off just about any role he takes. Been a fan since Gladiator, and he could have easily won an Oscar for his turn in the Master.

  9. There seems to be only two types of people when it comes to this movie, people who believe this movie this movie is a trainwreck waiting to happen, and people who believe this movie is going to be such a huge hit that it will make The Avengers look like a flop by comparison.

    • I think that it will be somewhere in the range from “moderate big hit” ($700M minimum)to possibly breaking The Avengers’ $1.5B mark if it hits just the right note. Even if it’s met with mixed reviews and is not a great film, I cannot imagine that it will be a financial flop.

      Age of Ultron is a safer bet, and might emerge the clear winner. It probably will not lose by much ($) even it does lose.

    • Well I guess I must be in the extremely rare 3rd camp that sits between the two types.

      I admit the casting choices (and additions) of Affleck and Gadot have me leaning to the trainwreck side, I don’t think it will be as much of a trainwreck and XM:DoFP.

    • How much money does this film need to make to make The Avengers look like a flop? 3 billion or more is what I’d need to see before drawing that comparison.

  10. Phoenix is a great actor. A little weird, but still great. I think if he was allowed to play Luthor as the “coiled strategist” who flies off the f%@#ing hinges at a moments notice, he’d take the role and knock it outta the park.

  11. We need Brainiac.
    In the meantime, what’s that in Mustach-man’s ear (see pic)?

    • earplug

  12. This just got real freaky

  13. No thank you. I pray this is a Rumor.

  14. wouldnt mind seeing edward norton as lex
    he was great in american history x

    • No thanks. I’m still hoping Norton can come back as Bruce Banner.

      Joaquin is the best choice I’ve seen so far so if he was cast, I’d say this movie has the perfect casting line up so far.

  15. Joaquin Phoenix is a fantastic actor. I never considered him for this role. But I think he would be perfect.

    • Exactly ^
      Not at all the kind of actor I’d have even thought of for the role because it’s such an odd, out-of-nowhere choice, but you just know he’d kill it.
      The thing about Luthor that I think is very important, but that many people forget is that underneath the charming rich billionaire persona, he’s actually a very twisted and creepy dude… REALLY creepy. Joaquin Phoenix could play that part very well, me thinks.

  16. It seems every time casting goes out for these films they fans call for one thing and the studios always go the opposite direction. You want a strong powerful looking women to play Wonder Women who would look more realistic in fight scene? Well we want the skinniest frailest supermodel we can find. You want a deep brooding grizzled looking Batman? Well we want the guy who played Dare Devil. Granted these could work out like Heath did, but you think they would humor the fans more sometimes.

  17. I think Michael Fassbender would be an excellent choice. He was amazing in 12 years a slave.

  18. I personally love the pick. Joaquin is such a great actor that I see him providing the type of performance that could come close to a Heath Ledger’s Joker. Does he fit the “look” role? No, but judging with the casting choices thus far, you would figure they are going to choose someone no one expected. So throw out Cranston as he fits the common choice and therefore is going to be out of the running. That’s Synder for ya though

  19. Hopefully it’s the Joker.

    • They reported Mos 2 will not have any of Batmans villains only Supermans.

  20. I think Benedict Cumberbatch is the perfect choice for Lex Luthor. I mean seriously how awsome was he as Khan?! However, Joaquin might be interesting. Henry Carvel has already proved himself. Ben Afflect was a great choice for the Dark Knight. Gal Gadot’s an unknown but I thing she’ll suprise all her critics. Who is Jason Mamoa going to play? I’ve heard rumors of Doomsday. Problem is Doomsday is not part of the Legion of Doom (and can’t be). However, Bane was a member and Jason sort of fits the dimensions. On the other hand he might be an interesting Arthur Curry. Also who is playing Nightwing.

    • I was actually thinking Bane as well