Rumor Patrol: Denzel Washington as Lex Luthor; ‘Justice League’ of Nations

Published 1 year ago by , Updated December 6th, 2013 at 9:41 am,

Denzel Washington as Lex Luthor in Batman vs Superman Rumor Patrol: Denzel Washington as Lex Luthor; Justice League of Nations

There’s been so much official superhero movie news over the past few days that mere Batman vs. Superman and Justice League rumors – no matter how interesting – seem pretty boring by comparison. There was the casting of Gal Gadot (Fast and Furious 6) as Wonder Woman, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 trailer, and the revelation that the sequel to X-Men: Days of Future Past will be about Apocalypse (maybe even the Age of). What could possibly be worth mentioning alongside all that craziness?

Well, the latest batch of rumors have to do with the casting of Lex Luthor in BvS and the setup for the inevitable followup, Justice League. While we’ve heard casting rumors for Lex before – namely, that Bryan Cranston (Breaking Bad) and Mark Strong (Green Lantern) were up for the role – this rumor would seem to indicate that Zack Snyder and co. are going in an altogether different direction.

According to Thinkmcflythink, the shortlist for Superman’s greatest, most brilliant arch-nemesis includes, first and foremost, Denzel Washington (2 Guns), Idris Elba (Thor 2), and “a certain reoccurring [African-American] cast member from ‘Arrow.’ ” Just to get it out of the way – yes, these are all black men. And no, casting a black man as Luthor is not comparable to casting Brad Pitt as Black Panther or Bruce Willis as Malcolm X. In case there was any confusion on the matter.

Lex Luthor Superman Man of Steel Rumors Rumor Patrol: Denzel Washington as Lex Luthor; Justice League of Nations

Since the above article also refers to Idris Elba – a British black man – as an African-American, it’s hard to say who the third actor is referring to. It could be David Ramsey, who’s American, or Colin Salmon, who’s British. Salmon is the more “Lex Luthor-esque” of the two and Ramsey is likely locked in to play Oliver Queen’s partner, John Diggle, for a while, so the former seems the more likely candidate.

Thinkmcflythink stresses that their report doesn’t mean Lex Luthor will definitely be played by a black actor; rather, black actors are who the producers are currently looking at.

Of the three actors on the rumored shortlist, Denzel is easily the most exciting option. He’s proven before that he can play a villain role with the best of them (he won his Best Actor Oscar for Training Day) and, perhaps even more importantly, that he can pull off a bald head (The Equalizer). Unfortunately, according to the report, Denzel is the least likely of the three to take the role – and in fact, it may already be outside the realm of possibility.

Denzel Washington Idris Elba and Colin Salmon as Lex Luthor Rumor Patrol: Denzel Washington as Lex Luthor; Justice League of Nations

Idris Elba would certainly do an excellent job in the role, but frankly, I’d much prefer to see him get his shot at an actual superhero at some point. Maybe we can just forget all about that Green Lantern (2011) nonsense and Elba can take the role of John Stewart in the aforementioned Justice League.

Lastly, Colin Salmon – if indeed he is the Arrow actor in question – has a solid sinister vibe going on that would fit the role really well, but his star power is well below the other two (not that that’s all that important).

This wouldn’t be the first time Zack Snyder made interesting casting choices with regard to established DC Comics characters. Aside from Henry Cavill who’s basically a dead ringer for the comic book version of Superman, pretty much every single casting decision was unique to the film – from Amy Adams (red hair) as Lois Lane to Russell Crowe as Jor-El to Laurence Fishburne as Perry White to Michael Shannon as General Zod. So there’s definitely some precedent here.


NEXT PAGE: Will the Justice League Be a Superhero United Nations?



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  1. Yeah, its not like black leaders would be pissed about a White man playing a black role. Or one that was completely made up?

  2. Colin Salmon looks like Lex Luthor, that photo is spot on.

  3. ^-^ Denzel Washington would probably be a great Lex Luthor. My only question has to be, where he would go with it?

    At first I’m thinking ‘Training Day’ style, something in that neighborhood would easily rank with Hackman and Spacey’s Luthors (Spacey was GREAT, regardless of Superman Returns as a whole). But then I think that might be a little to simplistic (Washington is one of those actors who tends to surprise with his choices and yet make it absolutely work, from my perspective). So where ever he might decide to go with it artistically…

    I’d definitely be interested in seeing that interpretation.

    (Also if he took the part, we could start calling “Crimson Tide”, “The Two Luthors”! :D )

  4. Lex Luthor is both Badass and Evil..Who better to cast For African Actor Samuel L Jackson, For Caucasian cast Bryan Crynstan…

    Just no Denzel, nor Billy Zane…Sorry they can’t ACT!

    • The words Denzel and “can’t act” do not belong in the same sentence.

      • +1000

    • I suspect that Marvel’s got a lock on Mr. Jackson for the foreseeable future.

      Besides, I’d like to see that Nick Fury movie.

  5. denzel would be the wiseist choice if lex is going to be black decent. Oh yesss he can act

  6. Just another bad idea in a string of bad ideas.

    I am now completely convinced that Snyder is actively working to run this movie into the ground. First Affleck, then Gadot and now this.

    Just awful.

  7. I really want to see the black Stan Lee make a cameo in an upcoming Marvel movie.

  8. Can anyone remember the Kingpin from Daredevil? Enough Said

  9. Funny how so many are defending characters that are fictional. Smh it’s just a movie, or a comic…it’s not real life smh…If a black actor is cast into a role that has been played by white actors previously then so be it! Smh don’t go see the movie…confine yourself into the deepest darkest hole ever, because you’re being racist!

    • …But why can’t a white actor play a made up character like Black Panther or The Falcon or Luke Cage?! It’s just as racist, actually.

  10. I want to see Michael Rosenbaum as Lex. He did such a great job evolving the character in Smallville, and hey Stan Lee endorsed him as the best Lex Luther. Some racial diversity is great but NOT on major players in the DC and Marvel universe’s. Batman as a black guy or Spiderman as well? Flash as a hispanic or Aquaman as a Asian? It would be hard to accept that the writers truly were understanding of the source material. Some things should just be left alone ;)

    • Or Ryan Reynolds as the Green Lantern….Oh Waitt…

  11. Denzel would be a really awesome casting. Anyone who says otherwise is probably stuck on Mark Strong or Cranston, both of which, while good, would be wrong. Why? The only reason people are picking them is because of their look and or a recent character they portrayed. I want someone proven time and time again, not just a one trick pony or someone that ‘looks like Lex Luthor.’

    I like Denzel. I’ve also thought an outside of the box, but good casting would be Leonardo DiCaprio. He’s a name that never seems to get mentioned and I’m not sure why. I’d love to see him play a TRUE villain and no just a racist one. I really can’t think of any other two that would please me more than these two. I’m sure there are others that could do the job, but these guys are Class A actors.

  12. Denzel Washington would be freaking awesome as Lex Luthor. It’s a good thing that they are trying to switch up the character because having the same interpretation as past incarnations of the character would be boring and dull…been there done that. Denzel is one of the few actors on Earth who could talk down to Superman even though he doesn’t have any superpowers and you would believe it.

    Cranston is a great actor but he is not intimidating at all. Walter White was never intimidating. He was clever and resourceful, but never intimidating. Of the other choices Salmon is not a heavy hitter on the big screen. I’ve seen the guy in plenty of stuff and he doesn’t have the gravitas to play a character as huge as Lex in a $200m blockbuster. Elba is a good actor but he is too British and too serious. I also think Lex should be older than Superman because he is someone who has already conquered the world culturally and financially. (eg.Lexicorp satellites in MoS)

    If Denzel were Lex I would reserve my ticket tomorrow.

  13. check out Denzel lost audition at Lex