Bryan Cranston Responds to Lex Luthor Casting Rumors: ‘This Is All News to Me’

Published 2 years ago by , Updated March 3rd, 2014 at 6:56 pm,

Cranston Luthor Bryan Cranston Responds to Lex Luthor Casting Rumors: This Is All News to Me

There is a proud tradition surrounding high profile blockbuster movies that involves fabricated casting rumors. After the release of The Dark Knight in 2008, word spread that Christopher Nolan was casting Johnny Depp as The Riddler and Robin Williams as Hugo Strange for the final installment of his Batman trilogy. Obviously, these turned out to be completely made up.

At the moment, all eyes are trained on DC and Warner Bros. as a result of the bombshell announcement that Ben Affleck will play the new Batman in Batman vs. Superman. The casting has only fueled fan speculation as to who will play the villain in the Man of Steel sequel, which many believe will be Lex Luthor. (Check out our own Ben Kendrick’s choices here.)

In fact, almost immediately after director Zack Snyder’s Superman reboot was released, the popular choice for the role has been Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston.

As mild-mannered science teacher-turned-meth kingpin Walter White, Cranston certainly possesses the ruthlessness, dark charm, and sinister hairlessness widely associated with the classic Superman villain. In fact, this casting notion has taken hold in the fan consciousness so much so that it has inspired a pretty cool fan-made trailer for Batman vs. Superman featuring Cranston as the villain.

breaking bad bryan cranston Bryan Cranston Responds to Lex Luthor Casting Rumors: This Is All News to Me

While many people seem to think the idea is a good one, the one small point often ignored is whether or not it’s actually true.

Cranston is in Cambridge, Massachusetts, preparing for his role as President Lyndon B. Johnson in the play All the Way, which premieres at the American Repertory Theater on September 13th. When asked by the Boston Globe about the rumors flying around that he’ll be playing Luthor, Cranston responded:

“I’ve heard that, too.”

And what of the news that he’ll be in at least six movies (with some reports suggesting the number could be ten)? Cranston went on:

“Six? This is all news to me. I think that maybe my name is bandied about because I’m known to be bald. ‘What bald guy can we get?’ The reality is they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him.” 

Should he hypothetically end up in the role, would Cranston ever seek out the advice of previous actors who have portrayed the Superman nemesis, such as Gene Hackman, who was the first to play Lex Luthor on the big screen? Cranston had a glib reply:

“I can just see how that phone call would go, ‘Gene? Hi, this is Bryan Cranston.’ ‘Who? Bryan Cranston? What do you want? How did you get this number?’ ”

The article describes Cranston as smiling and laughing as he responds to all of this, and when it comes to the period following his commitment to the stage (beyond directing an episode of ABC’s Modern Family), he said:

“I think I’ll relax the rest of the year. There’s some irons in the fire, things that people are talking about, but nothing is set.”

The answer is appropriately and understandably vague. Cranston has long since wrapped his duties on Breaking Bad, which is ending its successful run and in theory leaves Cranston in a position to take his career wherever he wants it to go. It has certainly earned him time off – if that’s what he’s really saying.

Lex Luthor in Man of Steel  Bryan Cranston Responds to Lex Luthor Casting Rumors: This Is All News to Me

On the off-chance that Cranston has been offered the role of Lex Luthor, he’s probably in no position to discuss the project. That said, his abject vagueness is interesting. The casting of Ben Affleck as the next Batman was kept a secret from almost everyone, and the casting of Lex Luthor is likely to follow the same pattern, but Warners has a knack for misdirection. When Marion Cotillard was cast in The Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan and company were adamant in their denials that Cotillard was playing Talia Al Ghul – which, of course, turned out to be a red herring.

We’re not saying that Bryan Cranston is intentionally misleading us, but smiling denials would be the way such a thing might go (and it fits Lex Luthor’s character, as well).

What do you think, Screen Ranters? Is Bryan Cranston pulling our leg?


Batman vs. Superman will premiere on July 17, 2015.

Source: The Boston Globe [via]

Follow Anthony Vieira on Twitter @malaclyptic
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  1. This was just a first impression of the article pic, but the drawing beside Cranston looks suspiciously like Chris Pine. I’m definitely not saying it should be him. Superman TAS’s Lex with Clancy Browns voice is a tough act to follow. Any insights?

  2. Shia LaBeouf has been cast as the eccentric, industrious, child prodigy, evil billionaire playboy Lex Luthor for the Superman and Batman film directed by Man of Steel director Zack Synder.
    Synder’s reimaginning of the iconic Superman villain, will continue to revitalise and build upon the new saga of Superman.

    • Nope. He’s too busy filming porn and calling it art.

      • I was eating a biscuit whilst reading this. Said biscuit is now covering my screen.

      • Yeah he’s gonna be in a movie called Nymphomania. During filming, the director had all the actors actually have sex. All the sex featured in the movie is real. His audition for the role was sending in sex tapes of him and his girlfriend.

        • Hehe, I was actually more shocked at the fact that he got the role as Lex than the “leaked” sex tapes.

          • he didn’t actually get the role. and the tapes were submitted to the director for casting consideration. Not leaked.

    • Gee, thanks for the wonder scoop, WB Insider.
      And is it true Pee Wee Herman is the Joker?

      • Hahaha!

        That might work actually…

        “The word of the day is…



      • @ Robert Palmer
        You didn’t hear?
        Pee-Wee had to drop out because he’s playing the lead in 50 Shades of Grey so WB has offered the Joker role to Melissa McCarthy…

  3. “I’ve been privileged in my career of not being pigeon holed in any one type character or genre and I feel as though nothing is beyond me, I can be goofy, loveable and yes, I can be a total psycho. What’s next? (chuckle) watch this space.”
    LaBeouf 2013

    • what does that even mean? what space?

      • Office Space.

        • lol

          Yeeeeeeaaaahhh…Shia…we’re gonna need you to be Lex Luthor and get those TPS reports done by Saturday…yeeeaaahh…

  4. Personally I would rather see someone else in the role. Cranston would be ok but he doesn’t have the right look IMO. I agree with Cranston. Anyone can shave their head for the part. Mike Rosenbaum from Smallville was an excellent Lex. I would want an actor that resembles that actor and his style of acting.

    • Do you mean an actor that resembles Rosenbaum and his style of acting?

      • Would Leo DiCaprio fall under that?:P Cause although it’s safe to assume he’d never do it, since he’d have to commit to multiple films, I still think he’d make a fantastic Lex. DiCaprio can play layered, manipulative parts like no other imo. He has the charm, the grandeur, the intelligence and the aggression.

        • DiCaprio and Rosenbaum are too feminine. Billy Zane or Cranston would be better.

          • If you had said Mark strong is better, I’d have taken your comment seriously. Billy Zane isn’t a tenth of the actor DiCaprio is, and he isn’t much manlier either imo.

            Now I realise it’s an unrealistic casting choice considering what DiCaprio wants to do with his career, but I’d love an actor who’s so committed to bringing a scene to life, he’ll flat out smash a real glass for it and continue acting with a bleeding hand. That kind of devotion is what I’d wanna see in Lex performance. Someone who will break all the friggin eggs in the world to get his damn omelet.

            There aren’t many actors around who can combine that type of aggressive willpower and combine it with the layered intelligence DiCaprio can, and it’s that not all too common combination of vehement ambition and manipulative intelligence that sets Lex Luthor apart imo. I really wanna believe Lex could defeat Superman, simply because he’s utterly relentless in using any and all means to get the job done. DiCaprio to me is the perfect actor for this. But it’s a very specific Lex you’d get from that, I admit.

            • DiCaprio is probably one of the most underrated for sure. Still can’t see him as Luthor though.

              • Usually the best roles and performances are those that you least expect.

                • touche

                  • Billy Zane does look like the Luthor from TAS but I don’t really think he’d be best for the role. I’m still pulling for Jason Isaacs.

                  • In my experience the best casting choices are when an actor can convey what the character is about in its essence. I think DiCaprio would be exceptionally skilled at conveying what Lex Luthor is about, because he can give layered and emotionally grounded aspects to very single-minded, or better said goal-obsessed behaviour.

                    I see a chance to do with Luthor what Ledger, Hardy and Shannon did, which is to ground the character and give him a layered ideologically fleshed out portrayal.

                    Also, if anyone has any names he’d think are better I’d love to hear them, but Strong I’m tired of seeing in this role, Cranston is great but I think he couldn’t keep this role from becoming cheesy (Kofi made the same argument on SU) (Him for Gordon seems great to me). Zane and Rosenbaum, just please god know, I want a top notch actor for this. Someone with stage-presence grandeur, yet the nuance of an a-list screen actor.

                    DiCaprio is the only one I can think of right now who fits the bill for and isn’t that far from Lex’s appearance given a bald makeover. He has the menacing eyebrow look.

                    • Oh frig just saw someone mentioning Jason Isaacs, I’d forgot about him. Okay he’s my nr 2 then. (Kudos to Ben Kendrick for mentioning him first if I’m not mistaken).

                    • I’ve been psuhing for Isaacs since MoS screened. He plays all my favorite bad guys.

              • The reason DiCaprio didn’t get an Oscar was because they couldn’t have two Best Supporting Actors get nominated in Django Unchained.

                • Of course they can’t, if they start handing them out to lead roles.

                  Also: yes, they can, The Fighter had both Melissa Leo and Amy Adams as supporting actress noms. Waltz should’ve been a nom in the Lead category, and Sam AND Leo should’ve been in the sup category, with Leo winning.

              • He is under rated because he is a boring actor. What movie has he made that really grabbed your attention since Titanic? And that movie was not a success because of him.

          • Billy Zane would be the perfect Lex.

    • Mike Rosenbaum and Smallville were both fun to watch, but he was hardly a great Lex Luthor. It was a teen angst story.

  5. Y’know I auditioned for this back in May and they still haven’t gotten back to me.

  6. Perfect casting

  7. I think John Malkovich would pull off the role of lex Luthor fairly well. Am I only one who thinks that?

    • He would but if this is going to be a franchise I think the actor and character need be a bit younger. I envision this Luthor as being an established businessman and renowned innovative genius but still close to his prime that way maybe down the line they can have him run for president in the franchise.

  8. The “notoriously unreliable site” Cosmic Book News. AHAHAHAHAHAH

  9. i would love to see Benedict Cumberbatch as Lex Luthor, i think is great choice but im ok too with Bryan Cranston

  10. I casted Terry O’Quinn to play Lex Luther that’s who I wanted to see ? That’s all right

  11. Too bad – Cranston as W.W. as Luthor would be formidable for Superman and Batman – dare I say W.W. could probably take out both superheroes

    • His meth would take out both heroes, for sure.


  12. What about Matthew Goode? Ozymandias wasn’t too far off. There’s a certain level of emotional detachment that Luthor has, and I thought Goode captured that very well in Watchmen.

  13. I love the idea of Leo in that role…

  14. What about Max Martini?

    I think that he could fill the role pretty well. He’d be around the same age as Batman. Not to mention that Lex Luthor (if he had hair) is a redhead. Plus, that voice lol.

  15. Lex Luthor should be only a little older than Clark. Not 20 or more years difference. Remember they met in Smallville when both were about the same age.

    • Only in ‘Smallville’ did they meet in Smallville and even then Lex was at least 10 years older than Clark. Remember, Superman is in his 30′s in this superman so having Lex in his 40′s would be ideal as would having him be Bruce Wayne’s age since he’ll be a much older batman. Someone else mentioned having him run for president in a future sequel. I like that idea but it should be in this movie.

      • Having Luthor run for President in this movie would make this movie more jammed than it already is. Especially if they’re going to give Batman a love interest, which they will have to spend time developing. Save that plot for a future film.

      • The Silver Age Superman meet Lex in Smallville as Superboy. Lana Lang was Lex’s sister.

  16. Bryan Cranston would be a great Gordon is what he’d be. I hear there’s a show being made about Gotham before Batman came back, so maybe. Just maybe…..

  17. What about Clive Owen? He has a naturally stern/tense look about him and I can easily see him breathing to life the sinister suave persona of Lex. Still trying to picture him bald though…