‘Batman vs. Superman’: Michael Rosenbaum Talks Eisenberg as Luthor, Playing The Flash

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Michael Rosenbaum as Lex Luthor Batman vs. Superman: Michael Rosenbaum Talks Eisenberg as Luthor, Playing The Flash

While Michael Rosenbaum has been acting steadily for over 15 years, having played dozens of different characters, many DC fans would agree that Rosenbaum’s portrayal of Superman arch-villain Lex Luthor remains his most indelible creation. Rosenbaum played the iconic character for 7 of Smallville’s 10 seasons, spanning across both the WB and The CW networks, and even reprised the role for the long-running drama’s series finale.

To say Rosenbaum put his own stamp on the role of Luthor would be an understatement, but fans of DC’s animated universe know full well that Rosenbaum’s involvement with legendary comic characters didn’t stop there. From 2001-2006, Rosenbaum played The Flash and his alter ego Wally West on the popular Cartoon Network animated series Justice League/Justice League Unlimited and returned to the role for 2012 direct-to-video animated feature Justice League: Doom.

That all begs the question: If Rosenbaum was offered a role in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Batman vs. Superman film, which of his previous characters would he take? The actor addressed just that during a recent interview with Cinekatz while promoting his new film Back in the Day. The answer may surprise you:

“I would lean toward The Flash kind of guy. The guy who wants to take light of the situation, when everyone is so upset and the world is dying he’s like, ‘Hey everything’s going to be alright! Let’s go bowling!’ That’s always been me. That’s kind of me and I’ve always had that temperance- the ability to make things better than they are. I think that’s my gift, honestly, is to entertain. I’d have to say I’d be closer to The Flash. I have some evil in me, but I’d be positive for the most part.”

Yep, it appears that a large contingent of fans’ choice for the the screen’s best Lex Luthor would much rather save the world on film than take it over. Rosenbaum also had some interesting things to say about Jesse Eisenberg, who many have dubbed a controversial choice to play Luthor in Snyder’s film:

“First off, I think he’s a really good actor. I don’t think he needs any advice from me, he’ll do his homework. Do it your way. I’m sure Zack [Snyder] has an idea. He cast you for reason. Jesse’s a good actor. He’ll do it his own way and that’s the best way. If you can do it your way, if you succeed or fail, you succeed because you are being original. If you’re trying to emulate someone, you’ll always be compared. That’s why I didn’t want to be compared during ‘Smallville.’ I didn’t watch any of Gene Hackman as Lex. He’ll be fantastic. Great actor, no problem with it.”

Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network Batman vs. Superman: Michael Rosenbaum Talks Eisenberg as Luthor, Playing The Flash

While it’s nice of Rosenbaum to extol Eisenberg’s virtues, it’s doubtful that the word of a former Lex will succeed in getting angry Superman fans to stop calling for the former Mark Zuckerberg’s resignation. However, it’s not really surprising that Rosenbaum would defend Eisenberg’s casting, as Rosenbaum himself was not at all known for playing Lex Luthor-style roles prior to his casting in Smallville.

Lest we forget, Rosenbaum’s most high profile live-action role prior to playing Luthor was as one of the titular characters on the short-lived WB sitcom Zoe, Duncan, Jack and Jane. Outside of that, Rosenbaum’s only other projects of note were some supporting voice work on Batman Beyond and playing a victim in the milquetoast late ’90s slasher flick Urban Legend.

While Eisenberg is certainly much more famous going into his debut as Luthor than Rosenbaum was, it doesn’t change the fact that neither actor would stand out in a lineup as a natural choice to play the villain. If Rosenbaum had never played Luthor before, would fans even bring him up when discussing their dream casting for Batman vs. Superman? It’s a hypothetical scenario to be sure, but it’s still one worth considering.


Batman vs. Superman hits theaters on May 6th, 2016.

Source: Cinekatz [via CBM]
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  1. While Smallville unraveled over the years, Micael Rosenbaum made that show watchable with his performances. What they did with the first season was truly great.

    • Smallville was so good with the involvement of Lex Luthor. His departure made the show go a bit downhill. The relationship between Clark and Lex is brilliant and that made Smallville so enjoyable to watch.

    • I agree , Michael Rosenbaum’s performance was spot on. He was the highlight of the show. I loved the episodes where Lex start to loose his mind ( because of his father drugging him to make him go crazy ) and how Michael performed it perfectly it gives you shivers. He was able to show the struggle inside lex perfectly and performed the good side and evil side of the characters amazingly.

      • Michael rosenbaum’s Lex is hard to top. Smallville’s most memorable aspect is its Lex Luthor who has been cast perfectly and performed brilliantly by Michael Rosenbaum. I truly wished I could see him again performing that iconic character on the big screen. He just nailed the heroic and tragic villain to a T.
        Eisenberg doesn’t struck as a Lex Luthor but I’m welling to give him a chance. Still though Michael Rosenbaum would have been perfect for role it’s a fact.

      • Michael Rosenbaum as Lex was the best thing to watch on smallville.I think smallville’s Lex was the best Lex luthor that has been written or acted to date. The character was multidimensional and complex , add to the mix a phenomenal actor like Michael Rosenbaum and you get a perfect combination. They should have given him the role.

        • You all brought back memories of my smallville years. The best thing about smallville was Lex Luthor. It did bring a cool story but what made it special was Lex and his journey towards the dark evil side. His friendship with Clark and how it broke. Lex’s characterization was spot on most of the time and thanks to Michael Rosenbaum who brought that character to life like no other did we got the best Lex Luthor to date.

  2. Need more pics of Jesse Eisenberg bald. Funny because there are a few photoshopped ones. But you’re tempted to skip over them because he looks so different from himself that you don’t even recognize him.

    He doesn’t look like someone to f*** with. Not that he would beat your butt and Superman’s too, but instead someone who’s good at what he does, used to people following him for it, and a practiced arsehole and enough of one to push his agenda to get anyone to agree with him because he’s so driven by his vision that he won’t listen to anyone who disagrees. That’s the kind of modern, realistic take that could work – un-persuadable yet very persuasive himself. Feels like we – and the characters – would feel icky about him but still concede to his bulldozing crusade against Superman.

    Bald Jesse Eisenberg. Definitely curious and interested to see how he will turn out.

    • I just googled the pic. That could be an awesome take on a new lex luthor. If this is the lex that could hold a movie and a sequel, it could work.

    • I’m really, really curious what he looks like bald, and I hope they shaved his head before casting him to make sure he doesn’t look completely ridiculous. It’s a superficial thing, but some guys do not look very good bald, and that can easily break a character like Lex who is supposed to look fairly intimidating.

    • I googled the picture … I just don’t see Eisenberg as Lex specially with how he sounds , not that I’m making fun of him or anything , far from that , I am just saying he doesn’t suit the role for a couple of reasons one of which is how he sounds and looks.

      What’s great about Lex Luthor as a character is that he gets to be so dangerous even though he doesn’t have powers nor was he trained in combat like the heroes he faces. He’s a genius who knows how to plot and manipulate people around him and he’s ready to do anything to achieve what he thinks is right. A villain who wants to save the world by controlling it but he ends up almost destroying it. I am waiting to see what this movie will give us it terms of Lex as a character and in terms of bringing that character to life.

      I still think Michael Rosenbaum was the perfect choice. Too bad we wouldn’t see him amaze us with his performance as Lex again.

  3. Michael Rosenbaum was a great Lex Luthor on Smallville & voicing the Flash on Justice League/JLU was great too. I wouldn’t mind if he got the role of the Flash in Batman vs. Superman or Justice League films.

  4. I read “Michael Rosenbaum” “playing The Flash” and nearly fell off my chair..

  5. I’m new here & there’s something I don’t quite get from the screen rant community.

    Why don’t you guy just put the comics aside & critic the movie as a regular film? I don’t know why it’s necessary to drag everything else in between because that just makes the movie look worse than it actually is… Right?
    & it’s not just comics but remakes as well.

    • You will not do well on this site my friend….

      • But you know, he’s got a good point.

        The bulk of criticism of films here is based on other works and not simply the film itself.

        For example, I’m perfectly free, personally, to enjoy every second of IM3 because I wasn’t sitting there demanding it be something other than what it was. It was just fun.

        I also, personally, am free to not enjoy the new Star Trek franchise, simply because I think that it sucks and is a pointless batch of flicks that require nostalgia to sell, rather than good story telling.

        But I’m not basing those off of anything else.

        • True. Plus I’m all for Marvel vs DC but film is definitely not the right place for it. You can’t have a casual debate about it without things blowing way out of proportion. At least comics allow for a lot more imagination & creative thinking.

          Nolan’s Batman won’t last 2 mins against the top level Avengers. But Snyder’s Batman will probably be able to match his skills against the Hulk. You can’t compare stuff like that can you?

        • You know, when I watch a movie and find that I didn’t like it I then read other peoples reactions. Then I take a look at the critics reviews. And finally there’s rotten tomatoes, IMDB, etc. I am a fan of Ironman and RDJ but Ironman 3 was a total loss, IMO. I watched it twice to make sure I wasn’t having a bad day or something. But in the end I felt the same way EVERYONE else did and thought it was a complete fail.
          As far as the new Star Trek franchise goes. I thought it was a pleasant surprise. Finally, a quality big screen adaptation of a franchise I enjoyed watching as a kid. The Next Generation wasn’t bad but was lacking on many different levels. The first movie was better but the sequel didn’t disappoint. And both received high scores with all the critics.

          And though you’re not basing this on nothing other than your own personal experience it’s good to know that you, at least, still have that. Unfortunately, you share it with the minority of the viewers. And without you watching these films we would never get just that…your personal opinion.

          See you at the movies!

      • You misunderstand me. I respect the source material but it shouldn’t curb your opinion of the film itself. If you’ve never heard of Iron-Man, Superman, Hulk or Robocop, would you look at the movie with a different point of view. Most people justify their hate or love for a movie solely based on the source material, in a way that lowers your expectations.

  6. A bald actor who looks like Lex Luthor would not be an obvious choice from a lineup if he were not known to play Lex Luthor?

    • MR isn’t bald.

  7. i am wondering if they even make Lex bald in this…cause not everyone looks good bald, some people dont have the face or head

  8. Smallville was a good show but it was Michael Rosenbaum as his performace as Lex Luthor that made the show better.

  9. If he played The Flash and was bald at the same time, I would say he ran so fast his hair blew off.

  10. I would love to see Michael play The Flash anywhere!!!

  11. I don’t think so. Michael already did played Lex Luther and did the voice of THE FLASH from the Justice League (animated series). Let’s have somebody play The Flash like Bradley Cooper, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Garret Hedlund, and Chris Pine.

  12. Michael Rosenbaum is a great actor and a nerd’s nerd. I think if he was the Flash he would give it the care and talent it deserves. The Flash character pulled me into comics and he is my favorite comic book hero besides the old Thor Journey Into Mystery stuff so I don’t say it lightly when I say he would make a good Flash!

  13. Bring back Michael rosenbaum as lex on the arrow series for a one off episode

    • michael rosenbaum um grande ator Michael Rosenbaum is a great actor and a nerd’s nerd. I think if he was the Flash he would give it the care and talent it deserves. The Flash character pulled me into comics and he is my favorite comic book hero besides the old Thor Journey Into Mystery stuff so I don’t say it lightly when I say he would make a good Flash!

      • Michael Rosenbaum was the best thing that happened to the character ” Lex Luthor ” and to Smallville. The show went downhill after he left. The best lex luthor there is without a doubt , he left a mark that can never be bested IMO and that’s coming from someone who was never a lex fan till Michael performed it.

        This actor is so under-rated. It’s unbelievable how he didn’t get tons of offers after his amazing performance at smallville. As the flash or lex or anything , I just hope to see him perform in a huge production soon.

        • I feel sorry for anyone who tries to play lex after Michael Rosenbaum. Michael did the role so much justice and truly brought it to life. I think it’s hard to match what he did. I’m just saying he was the best lex luthor to ever be performed.

          I think Michael Rosenbaum talent needs to be in good use. I would like to see him star in huge movies. The guy is born to act.