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. Cranston is more the “Jim Gordon” type not Luther. Regardless, he needs to focus on himself for a little while. The man just gave us, possibly, the best scripted character to ever grace television.

    • *Luthor

    • Jim Gordon would be nice too. I just want to see him in a big movie like this. Breaking Bad was a start and a hell of a start but it’s about time he gets roles like these in movies, he deserves them.

      • Breaking Bad was hardly a start. He was the dad on Malcolm in the Middle and has been on a huge number of TV shows and tv/theaterical release movies since 1980…

        • I loved Malcolm in the Middle and thought he was great in it but Breaking Bad was sort of the breakthrough into the wider audience I think. Can’t remember him any other roles to be honest, other than the several recent films.

        • Before Malcolm in the Middle he was Dr. Tim Whatley on Seinfeld

          • Wasn’t he only in a couple of episodes, sort of like a guest star?

            • Yeah, so I guess that’s a bad example…

              • Well nah, Seinfeld had a pretty large audience so he must’ve gotten some great exposure.

                • Yeah….I just realized Commandant Spangler from Malcolm in the Middle was Krueger on Seinfeld

                  So I wonder who got hired first Hal or Krueger? And if they had anything to do with the other one getting the job?

            • per imdb he was in 5, and that sounds about right

  2. It could go either way at this point to be honest. As much as I want Cranston in the role, I’ll refrain from thinking about it until it’s finally announced. I don’t want to get my hopes up for nothing. Damn, rumors are getting awfully annoying nowadays.

  3. Still my number one pick to play Lex Luthor.

    • same here cranston would make a fantastic luthor

  4. After my disappointment with the Bat Affleck announcement, the casting of Cranston would revitalize my interest in the film, but something tells me they are going to go with a younger actor.

    • I think they’ll go with an older Lex Luthor. I personally think it would look odd on screen with a young billionaire in Lex, and an older billionaire in Bruce Wayne. Cause you know they’re going to have their fair share of scenes together. Plus Cranston & Affleck have pretty good on screen chemistry, which doesn’t hurt. (See: ARGO)

      • To my eye, Ben looks young himself, which is why I believe they may go with a younger looking Luthor as well.

        • He looks good for his age, but I still see an older Batman in him. It’s a good mirroring to Henry Cavill since Superman always looks like he’s in his prime. I don’t think he ages as fast as humans.

      • it completely slipped my mind that they were both in Argo, which is hopefully a sign that he may have been cast as Luthor. Im sure Affleck has a lot of say in terms of script so if he was happy with Cranstons performance in Argo he might have requested him for the part in Batman vs. Superman.

        • I believe Cranston is a far better actor than Affleck. I do hope they cast him, but to date, they have not done much that I have liked with the latest incarnation of Superman.

        • Yeah, hopefully Affleck’s presence has a positive effect on the script.

      • Except Affleck doesn’t look too old. Lex should be around the same age as Clark/Bruce. Its part of Lex’ story, he became rich because of his intelligence and at a very young age. He had nothing he was noone but went from dirt to prince.

      • Cranston looks just WAY too OLD! Common he looks in his 60ies Ben hardly looks in his 40ies depending on the shot and the makeup.
        Like other said : Cranston is more a Gordon than a luthor. Luthor is bald, not old. His baldness is about evilness (mad scientist who lost his hair in an accident, plus the symbol of baldness as something repulsive), not decaying : luthor is a giant, a monster of will in top form that you frequently see working out and destroying his martial art instructors. He s able to sell the fact he can go against superman himself in a huge battle suit. That’s not Cranston. That s more like billy Zane or Mark strong.

    • I really hope they don’t go for a younger Luthor. I feel like he’d be a bit of an amateur. David Goyer gave a description saying the Luthor in their universe would be one powerful dude, and while a young man can be powerful, an older person would maybe be a bit more believable and provoking, especially if they have double the life experience of Clark.

    • Completely agree. I feel he could save the movie since everyone has at one point decided not to cause of Affleck

  5. Listen, he’s a good actor but the biggest reason he’s being associated with Luthor is because he plays a bald guy on TV. If his character wasn’t bald, not many people would be talking about him for Lex at all. Im not saying it would be a bad choice, but I was thinking someone younger and in their prime for LL. I would love an outside the box type of casting like Idris Elba for example…

    • Oh for Christ sake could the idris Elba fan club just frick off and …. go see if there s some life form on Pluto !!!! Sorry for the aggressiveness but it s really a pain in the ass now how idris Elba is shoed in every role :by his pom pom boys : James Bond , luthor, batman, … Show some intelligence and decency you are making some guy starting to hate him just because you harass every one else with how good he would be in a part regardless of the requirements of the part…and every time you use something ” you know who would be good in this part : idris elba! it would be inventive and outside of the box casting” : NO it would be damn stupid ! He’s a tall black guy okay ! So spawn , black panther a billionaire or the president of the us Ok. But he’s no bond, batman or Mary poppins ! Those guy are white – period. they are NOT some kind of pedestal to raise the profile of your idol. Denzel or will smith never run for one of those so stop trying to lobby for fricking the rules just because you have a man crush on him.

      • I wasn’t aware of this current state of affairs concerning Elba, but there you have it. I could say the exact same of Cranston. I was thinking of the Animated version of Luthor which to me was always racially ambiguous. I would have no problem with a black Luthor, whether it was Elba or some other good actor (hence the “for example” caveat). That being said, you really, really need to relax.

  6. Mark Strong – Lex Luthor

    Bryan Cranston – Comm Gordon

    Timothy Dalton – Alfred Pennyworth

    • Yeessssss!!! That’s exactly what I was thinking. I hope this is the case

    • If they’re keeping the Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern for JL then Mark Strong is already Sinestro.

      • I really hope they reboot Green Lantern, the tone, story, everything about it doesn’t really fit with anything in Man of Steel I find. Strong was a great Sinestro though!

        • Yeah, I just finally rewarched Green Lantern and it was a bit painful. But Strong was good as Sinestro, and Blake Lively actually seemed cooler than I remembered as Carol. Pity.

          I like that idea for Strong, Cranston and Dalton. I would also like to finally, really see Barbara Gordon in an upcoming Batfilm. Maybe Jessica Chastain or Bryce Dallas Howard, although I could see them skewing younger.

          • I thought the romance of it all was really cliche. Blake Lively was cool and all but it’s just the relationship they had that annoyed me.

            Barbara Gordon would be nice. I was hoping in the solo Batman films they can start introducing some of the Bat family.

        • I hope they go with John Stewart, the black Green Lantern. Idris Elba looks the part, but I think he is too obvious of a choice. But I’m not getting my hopes up on a good GL movie, I always thought his powers were kinda stupid anyway.

          • I was thinking instead of simply Green Lantern, they can do a Green Lantern Corps film. That way, not all in one film but as the franchise progresses, the films can start introducing John Stewart, Hal Jordan, Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner.

      • forget SINESTRO, Strong is LEX LETHOR for now on

    • Triple Play. YES

    • I hope Warners are skimming through this site.

    • Adam West for Alfred!

      Adam Wee! (^-^)

  7. Mark Strong will be Lex Luthor I believe.

  8. No matter what I see him in he will always be Hal to me :)

    • It would be funny if, at the end of Breaking Bad, he wakes up in bed with his wife Lois from Malcolm in the Middle, and it was all just one bad dream…

      …but Bob Newhart already did that in one of his shows. :)

  9. Michael Rosenbaum FTW!!

  10. Also! Why does that picture of Cranston in that yellow hue remind me of another picture of a character making that same pose from the half life game.

  11. Bruce Willis as Lex Luthor. :P

    • Why?

      Just because he’s bald?

    • Haha oh no!

    • Superman goes to save Lois, open doors, goes to her to untied and sees a tablet on her “Yippee ki-yay, motherf*ck*r!” Bomb with kryptonite under Lois explodes. Lex lights a cigar “and they happily lived ever after”
      “Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
      Jingle all the way
      Oh, what fun it is to ride
      In a one horse open sleigh
      Jingle bells, jingle bells….”

  12. I really like Ben Kendrick’s Jason Isaacs and Jason Clarke ideas. I think those are great choices.

  13. I never believed a word of the “rumor” originating from that crank site.
    Nor do I think Cranston is being vague in the interview either and
    nothing he said or intimated means he is cast or to be cast.

    On the casting I think it is done. An actor is signed.
    Just like I think Affleck was signed months ago and
    even before the announcement Batman would be in
    in the MOS sequel explaining the stealth manner that
    was handled with no one having a clue anywhere of it.

    An who said recently “stay tuned” for information lately?
    Mark Strong. If an actor has been cast then it’s Mark.
    Who is one of the best choices if not the very best.

    • My bet is it is actually Mark Strong. A couple of days after the film’s release, there were rumors of Snyder wanting Strong for the role. A couple of weeks later, Strong commented saying, “Watch this space.”. I admit it can mean anything but I find it almost guarantees his involvement. Plus how many other characters would he really play in a Superman film?

      • “Watch this space” hat was the comment I was referring to.
        I too think its done as I said and right now there is no point in
        revealing that with all the talk generating from the Affleck casting.
        The film starts shooting the beginning of next year. Auditions are over.

        • that not hat

        • Wow last thing you said and I forget it while typing the comment aha. That’s what I get while focusing on Jeremy Jahn’s reviews and replying. But yeah, at this point, all the rumors are based on people’s dream castings. I pretty much accepted Strong as Luthor now, he’s a great choice. If they pull a ‘u’ turn and announce him in an entirely different role, I’d be surprised though I doubt it’ll happen.

  14. I’ll say this: Cranston rumors are not doing any harm to this film’s buzz.

  15. QUESTION: This is off topic, but is anyone else having a problem with Screenrant freezing up on them lately? I have to exit and reenter, but it has been happening repeatedly.

    • Not lately, Jeff, but yes occasionally from time to time.

      • Hm. It’s been happening repeatedly to me under the discussions. Just this website…no others. Can’t figure it out. Hope it resolves itself.

        • Try testing the site in a different browser
          just to see if your problem is browser related.

          Plug-ns can sometimes cause this, in particular
          Flash Player and I would check to see if you
          are running the current version of that
          since that can cause such issues.

  16. Love the Lex image juxtaposed with Cranston.
    The Lex Luthor from the Man Of Steel comic.

      • The nose lol

        • :D Very distinctive features Mark strong has.
          I noticed on the TV show Low Winter Sun the
          pupils of his eyes are enormous enabling him to
          give a stare down like nobody else can handle :D

            • Large and like almost solid black. Very unusual.
              He had to be intimidating as a kid too with those.

              • Too intimidating for other kids to talk to maybe? We’ve got our origin story for Lex now =P

                • And the children were frightened of the boy Lex Luthor’s eyes, like a stare into darkness with darkness behind them. Children were afraid to talk to him and Lex made few boyhood friends . Once a man, Lex Luthor turned his eyes, the curse of his youth, into a weapon adding power to his already powerful personality using his famous glare to intimidate opponents and dominate the leaders of industry in his rise to the top.

            • Answered but “awaiting moderation”. Who knows why.

  17. Billy Zane definitely has the right voice and characteristics for Lex Luthor; watch ‘Titanic’.

    • That was titanic more than a decade ago the guy is up in age now do you really think he still looks that way?

      • Actually his age would be perfect right now,and I know he’s still bald,and I know he still has the same charisma to play Lex on the big screen so Im not concerned at all.

  18. Billy Zane for Luthor!

    • Yes Yes Yes!

  19. Isn’t Cranston pushing 60? He can be Lionel Luthor But I think he is too old for Lex Luthor especially if you want to use him in sequels. I would be disappointed if they cast someone that old unless they are gonna kill him off and killing off Lex would be a mistake.

    • You watched too much Smallville. Lionel Luthor was made up for that show.

      • Oh, well he is still too old.

      • aren’t they all made up :)

  20. Although I’m as much a fan of Bryan Cranston’s performance, I envision him to be more suited for Jim Gordon than Lex Luthor. He did an awesome Gordon voice-over in Batman: Year One.

    Since Lex would be starting from legitimate businessman to criminal, WB should cast someone younger (in his 40′s), more physically daunting to do proper justice to do the comics, so that at some point of time, Lex will don his Kryptonite Power Suit and be capable of going toe-to-toe with Superman.

    Although I’m as much a fan of Bryan Cranston’s performance, I envision him to be more suited for Jim Gordon than Lex Luthor. He did an awesome Gordon voice-over in Batman: Year One.

    Since Lex would be starting from legitimate businessman to criminal, WB should cast someone younger (in his 40′s), more physically daunting to do proper justice to do the comics, so that at some point of time, Lex will don his Kryptonite Power Suit and be capable of going toe-to-toe with Superman.

  21. My vote goes to either Jason Isaacs or Mark Strong. Would be really happy with either of those 2.

  22. Ralph Fiennes for Lex Luthor!!! No one has more experience than him in playing bald baddies

  23. After the Affleck anouncement i’m fully expecting Mike Myers to be cast as Lex Luthor.

  24. * announcement

    • I bet the studio would deny that too. What further proof do we need.

  25. Bryan Cranston also did a great job as Colonel Powell in “John Carter” (with a lot more hair on his head). That’s another fine credit in his resume and makes me think he would be a good Lex Luthor. If he isn’t offered the part, Mark Strong (an excellent villain in “John Carter”) would also be a wise choice (and he has experience being bald for a role).

  26. Still naively rooting for Leo DiCaprio as Lex Luthor. (And before you try to burn me alive, think about what I just said for a sec.)

  27. So who should be casted as Mercy??

  28. Yup. People have been saying this wasn’t true for a week or so now. I’m still hoping Jason Isaacs gets the part. Just look at his imdb profile picture. He’s got that Luthor grin and he’s played some pretty great bad guys. The British officer who kills Heath Ledger in Patriot, Lucius Malfoy, and of course Captain Hook.

  29. I have no idea who will play Luthor – my first choice is Jon Hamm – but I think the guy who plays him should look like, if Clark Kent had no powers at all, he could get in a fist-fight Clark and possibly win. Luthor’s not a big, strong guy, but he’s definitely a fit, still in the prime of his life, guy.

    Bryan Cranston looks more like the grizzled, experienced Jim Gordon than the rich, well taken care, of Lex Luthor.