Kevin Spacey Interested In Playing Lex Luthor In Superman: Man of Steel

Published 4 years ago by , Updated May 22nd, 2011 at 8:04 pm,

Kevin Spacey Lex Luthor Superman Man of Steel Zack Snyder Kevin Spacey Interested In Playing Lex Luthor In Superman: Man of Steel

While Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns may not have been the modern-day Superman story a lot of fans had been hoping for, Kevin Spacey’s interpretation of Lex Luthor showcased the necessary camp and brutality that could have paid off down the road.

Could Spacey get a chance to revisit the iconic villain in Zack Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot, Superman: Man of Steel?

We got a chance to speak to speak with the Academy Award winner at a recent press event for Spacey’s latest film, Casino Jack, the based-on-a-true-story of infamous “Super Lobbyist” Jack Abramoff.

During the interview, Spacey took the time to speak about his interest in reprising the role of Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder’s Superman: Man of Steel:

“They haven’t called. All I hear is what you probably hear too. All I know is that when I hear a reboot, I assume they’re going to recast everybody. But, yah, in principle, there was already supposed to be a second one but it never happened. It’s their option. But I had a blast doing it. My suspicion is they’re going to reboot the whole thing.”

Even if he only got to play Luthor in one film, Spacey is proud of the direction, and risks, that Singer explored in Superman Returns - but was also sympathetic to fans who might have been frustrated by the liberties the team took:

“I’m a huge fan of Bryan Singer. I thought the movie did pretty damn well. It’s always one of those things where because it’s such an important franchise to so many people, and they’re so devoted to it, that you’re always going to end up with people who didn’t like it or liked it or liked a (certain) part.”

Despite the recent, and somewhat questionable, release of a possible plot for Singer’s unproduced Superman Returns sequel, the story proposal must have been under tight wraps, or merely in the early development stages – since Spacey wasn’t privy to the direction Singer planned to take the franchise (had Warner Bros. not pulled the plug).

“It never got to that point, I mean he was focused on getting that film done, and then over the years I kept hearing little rumors here and there – and then I read in the papers it’s all being rebooted, and new people were on board.”

Kevin Spacey Lex Luthor Superman Man of Steel Kevin Spacey Interested In Playing Lex Luthor In Superman: Man of Steel

It’s hard to imagine, given the news that Snyder would be looking for an “unknown” to play the Man of Steel, that Spacey will be asked to return as Lex Luthor – but it’s certainly encouraging to hear the actor is interested. Spacey’s portrayal of Superman’s arch-nemesis would have been dark enough for the tone of a potential Doomsday plot – while also retaining enough of the campy charm from Gene Hackman’s fondly-remembered interpretation of Luthor in the Christopher Reeves films.

Snyder’s Superman reboot won’t be in theaters until 2012 – so, in the meantime, you can catch Spacey as an equally power-hungry big wig in the real-life role of Jack Abramoff from George Hickenlooper’s Casino Jack. The film opens in theaters everywhere tomorrow, December 17th (make sure to check back for our review).

Follow us on Twitter @benkendrick and @screenrant and let us know if you’d like to see Spacey return. If not, who should play Lex Luthor in Snyder’s reboot?

Superman: Man of Steel is tentatively set to hit theaters in 2012.

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    Please for the love of God cast this movie so we can quit having this same discussion over and over. The Superman posts have became a broken record. Tom should play Superman. No, Brandon should play Superman. No, your wrong, Nobody should play Superman. No, YOUR wrong, I should play Superman.
    Personally, my vote is for DSB as Superman. Little Monster as Jimmy Olsen. I will play Luthor. Vic can play Lois. Just kidding Vic. You would make a better Luthor than me.
    Now that I have gotten that off my chest. I love the fact that Kevin Spacey is wanting to do this role again. He was my favorite part of Superman Returns. I would have really loved that movie if it would have been better written and a complete reboot. I have always been a supporter of Tom Welling as Superman but I am seriously at the point that I really could give two craps about who plays him now. Either way it goes, half will love it, half will hate it. The rest will just bash it to get a rise out of everybody else. I love this site.

    • Now THAT…RIGHT THERE…is a RANT! lol

      • woooohoooo

  2. Greatertater……best Post yet…..great!!!
    Anywho……Rumor patrol……just read that shooting for the reboot will begin in the summer 2011…..and it is slated to be in Vancouver. Right away I thought…wow, smallville shoots there. But was told that actually alot of filming takes place in Vancouver and that really doesn’t mean anything….However, would Warner Bros. really spend millions to build another Kent Farm and Smallville town when they already have one made? ponder that one….

  3. With the way the plot is in the reboot, Tom Welling as Superman would be the prefect choice imo. And having the film follow a series would only make it better. It is a reboot afterall.

  4. we have 4 movies already with luthor as the main antagonist, so in my humble opinion, dont have him in this movie… at all… give some love to metallo/brainiac/doomsday… luther was only good 30 years ago when he wasnt stale…

    and if he is in the movie, make him deny all knowledge of creating doomsday in a secret lab… like in the death of superman…

    and on a side note, burton sux and everyone of his movies could easily turn into a snuff film halfway though… so if he does a superman movie, that would make me want to burn everyone of my comics ever featuring superman… even the collectables back in the 70′s and before that even…

    • I would hope the studio and writers would have enough integrity to preserve the storyline as much as possible for the “Death of Superman” story arch. I wouldn’t mind a bit of cutting out of the Underworlders, but with the proper explanation and brief backstory, even that obstacle can be overcome.

      But, yeah, agreed. :)

  5. The other rumour was that they are actually using Superman Earth one and Birthright as models for the new movie

    • Both of those are origin stories, do you really want to see another origin story? Especially when it’s one of the most well known stories of all time.

      • Also, we don’t know how the Shuster/Siegel lawsuit will swing so we can to conclude that a reboot all the way back to the origin story would be out of the question for a moment.

  6. I think Spacey is a good actor but I dont like him as Lex Luthor. Although he does have a great similarity to Gene Hackman, I dont think that even a Gene Hackman like Lex Luthor would be enough to satisfy fans. I think that Smallville took the right approach with how they handled Lex. They made a younger character, one who had a friendship with Clark Kent and was inlvolved in a love triangle with him as well (Lana love triangle). They showed him getting more and more evil and hungry with power as he got older and they had his father, Lionel, play a big part.

    I think that the studio should stick with this storyline because it is the most marketable. The majority of the moviegoers that are going to see this film are between 10 and 35 if I had to guess so I dont think that a 50 year old LEx is such a good idea.

    Also, I agree, if Tom Welling is Superman, I am out

    • Well…you just might be out. The latest is that the reboot will be filmed in Vancouver…same as smallville. I doubt Warner bros., with smallville ending, will spend millions on rebuilding a set when they have one…and I feel now all fingers point to welling taking over the reigns as superman…..but could just be wishful thinking on my part….

      • oh….and why did you say “agree”….I’d say 3 out of 5 people who posted seem to be in favor of Welling….so you are in the minority…..

      • I knew someone would think them shooting in Vancouver would mean that Welling is in, but it’s just like you said, wishful thinking. All that means is that Snyder will feature the Kent Farm in the movie, and they’ll be using the same set. Why build another when they already have it built?

    • I think Lex Luthor needs a time out,if you want to do Superman justice,use some new characters as enemies such as Doomsday, Darkseid.The death of S uperman would be a movie I would GO TO SEE.

  7. The most thought of approach to the SUPERMAN reboot is who can play this role of a super man. What human actor can even begin to equal the look and physical appearance of this truly larger than life super man? The answer is … no one.

    Chris Reeve got close, but although his facial features were acceptable, he still lacked the physique that is SUPERMAN’S. No human actor we know of that would be considered for that role is a superhuman actor, nor can any come close to filling that role completely. The wonderful graphic depictions of the man of steel by various artists demonstrate that fact most emphatically.

    Today, the art of computer generated imagery has developed to the point of perfection. Naomi Watts was computer generated in certain scenes of King Kong that were deemed too dangerous for her to perform. I defy anyone not connected with the film to tell me which scenes they were.

    The reboot of SUPERMAN could contain a computer generated SUPERMAN that could be indistinguishable from a human actor, but at the same time retain the true physical representation of SUPERMAN.

    Some would question that a true representation of SUPERMAN’S physique would not bode well with Clark Kent’s appearance. Clark Kent’s appearance could be toned down without any great noticeable difference.
    ABOVE ALL CONSIDER THIS. . . a mere pair of glasses prevents anyone from seeing a resemblance between SUPERMAN and Clark Kent. If anyone can accept that ridiculous concept, they certainly could accept any slight discrepency between Clark Kent’s apparent physique and SUPERMAN’S.

    Why this observation has apparently escaped everyone but me is a mystery.

    Let’s finally give SUPERMAN his due. He is, after all, NOT human. So why do we insist on forcing him into a human mold?

    • SUPERMAN isn’t a human, correct but he is a humanoid or a human species.

      Whenever people get into the argument of Superman should be CGI cause he is to big to be a human, again wrong as most of the times in the comics he is a buff guy not incredibly buff but not skinny. Most people when they think he is a version of the HULK see either Alex Ross drawings (which to tell the truth are probably the closest things of him being the right size, not to big not to small) or the cartoons where his chest sticks out five feet wide.

      Another point is, you mentioned Naomi Watts in KING KONG, yes its common knowledge now in the film buisness that if something is too dangerous or there is no way it can be humanly done, you make a CGI character of the actor. What your suggesting would be illogical as this movie will not have the decade long investment and money that AVATAR, and to make a movie with a CGI SUPERMAN will need that. Could you Mo-CAP the thing to help out, yes but your taking a lot of your budget and time to something that is completely unnessecary.

      And your arguement about changing Clark Kents/Superman physique is I’m sorry to say but absurd. Yes its weird as hell that no one can tell the two apart with and without the glasses but changing the physique can not happen, for A. its not mention in the mythos and B. one of Newton Laws would be shat upon for doing that.

      All in all, there is no need for them to do so, and they won’t.

  8. Smallville has been the best television show of the last ten years without question.

    It’s amazing how all of the shows critics and detractors can never find a constructive argument against it. They merely pick on this show because they find it hard to believe that it’s outlasted or will have more seasons than so many more hyped shows such as Lost, Friends, Dexter, The Sopranos.

    People that refer to it as a soap opera or ’90210′ cleary haven’t watched it and have no true appreciation of quality televison. It hasn’t enjoyed as higher ratings as season 2 beacuse it’s budget and promotion have been lessened over the years along with being swicthed to Friday night. The show still manages to retain a strong fanbase and consistent ratings.

    Now onto Superman Returns. Yes I’l admit that with $391 million worldwide, it can hardly be called a flop. But in consideration of the importance and relevance of the character – maintained almost entirely because of Smallville – a Superman film should have been a truly epic comic book film full of action, spectacle, amazing special effects and full of purpose. This should have resulted in the year’s top box office grossing film worldwide.

    Instead what we got was a weak, maudlin film, completely lacking ambition. Singer got lazy and tried to rely on peoples nostaglia for Christopher Reeve and basically remade Richard Donner’s 1978 film. I’ve stated on here before that we wanted to see Superman doing truly heroic things, not looking at Lois Lanes house, getting kicked about by Lex or getting taken to hospital – god that was so stupid.

    I think that the reboot needs to move in a new direction and we need to see another of Superman’s main villains visualized on screen. Lex Luthor’s been in every screen adaptation of Superman and we need to see someone else. Spacey wasn’t that bad in the role but we all know that Michael Rosenbaum’s performance in Smallville is by far he best screen interpretation of the character.

    So then no Spacey shouldn’t return as Lex in the Superman reboot.

    • @”I’ve stated on here before that we wanted to see Superman doing truly heroic things, not looking at Lois Lanes house, getting kicked about by Lex or getting taken to hospital – god that was so stupid.”

      Saving people from a plane crash, an entire city, and then saving others from around the world aren’t heroic?

      • @Little Monster

        The plane crash is near the beginning of the film, with saving parts not whole of the city coming in at the end. What for then, the 1 hour plus running time inbetween?

        The plane sequence aside, every other heroic act is nothing particularly exciting or edge of the seat fare. This is again down to Singer’s failure to deliver big action sequences that a Superman film deserves.

        There have been many action scenes in Smallville that were far more exciting than anything in Superman Returns.

    • Umm, lebsta, I’ve watched Smallville for 10 years and have enumerated many times what I think is wrong with the show. Just ask DrSamBeckett. 8)


      • And I mostly agree with you Vic, great show, I love it and watch it religously, but I see the cracks, admittedly the past 2 seasons have been considerably stronger than anything that has gone before.

        The only thing about Smallville that annoys me constantly is the complete and total lack of continuity, whether it be stories or characters. The writers either fail to communicate, or have zero knowledge of events just a few seasons previous.

  9. this discussion has turned infantile. Where is the moderator to clean this flame war up? you kids behave. we are only talking about Superman, lets be civil and enjoy the discussion. we are talking about a fiction character

  10. Really do not mean to harp on this but instead of arguing over who should be Superman, perhaps taking a second look at the article and correcting the mistakes. How does one “to speak to speak” to someone? And it is Reeve not Reeves.

  11. No one else will probably see this so to keep the Routh/Welling fans from hurting each other, here are a couple things to chew on. Chris Nolan grounded Batman by using real world antagonists with the Mob. Metropolis would have the same kind of problems taken up notch on the sci-fi scale. Think organized crime run by mad scientists instead of cereal killers. “Reporter Clark Kent is going to uncover things that only Superman has the power to stop.” Zack Snyder is working off a Nolan story draft. He has to fast track this picture and needs people he knows he can work with.
    So as far as casting fights go, here are some more relevant choices to argue about:
    Perry White = Stephen Mchattie
    Lois Lane = Lena Headey
    Jimmy Olson = Jim Sturgess
    Jonathan Kent = Jeffrey Dean Morgan (possible schedule conflicts)#2 Jake Weber
    Martha Kent = Carla Gugino
    Clark Kent = Billy Crudup (awaiting final approval from WB)
    Lex Luthor = Dominic West
    Eve Teschmacher = Kim Poirier
    Morgan Edge = Ty Burrell
    Emmet Vale = Vincent Regan
    John Corben = Michael Fassbender
    Unnamed Intergang Henchman = Michael Kelly
    In the end, Richard Donner fans, Smallville fans, and everyone in between is gonna be blown away by what Snyder and company have in store for us.
    In regards to this article, one of my truest regrets is that Kevin Spacey and Heath Ledger won’t be on screen together in Superman,Batman:(

    • Anonymous?

      It’s “serial killer”; a “cereal killer” is someone who goes down the breakfast aisle at the supermarket, stabbing Tony The Tiger, Count Chocula, Toucan Sam, etc with a honking bid steakknife.

      • LOL I guess Snap, Crackle, and Pop managed to escape his grasp, huh?

      • *big* steakknife…

  12. In the end, I doubt both Welling and Routh will be picked as Superman, as I’ve heard recently WB is still auditioning other actors. Therefore, that should be a clear sign right there how much confidence they have in either one of them to play superman on the big screen. Routh, I doubt seriously will be back because of the luke warm reception of SR.

    I personally don’t think it’s fair because Routh was only playing superman the way Singer wanted him to. You see boys and girls, there’s two types of directors that make movies. a collaborative one, and a Dictator one. a collaborative one allows actors to develop their own interpretations of the character and make it their own. Take Nolan for instance. When he made DK, he allowed Heath Ledger to do as little and as much research on Joker that he wanted. This not only allowed Heath to portray his own version of the joker, it allowed him to own that character as well.

    Then we get to Singer, who is a dictator. A dictator director is pretty much everything has to be his/her way or the highway. They never allow the actors to gain their own points of view on the characters they play outside of his own. In fact, Hugh Jackman even admitted this during the filming of X3. He said that when they made the first two x-men films, Singer not only didn’t want any of the cast to read any of the x-men comics, he also highly discouraged it. Saying that he wanted them to portray the characters EXACTLY the way he wanted them to. Therefore, you combine that with the fact that Singer said he based his SR movie off Donner’s superman and the old max fleischer cartoons, and you have your reason why it came out the way it did.

    I think for the record if Routh and Spacey had been allowed to do research and portray the characters the way they wanted, then it might’ve ended up improving sr. However, it’s too little too late. Is it fair? No, but that’s life.

    Then we get to Tom Welling. Don’t get me wrong, I like Smallville. Great show. Great cast, and interesting use of liberties with the Superman mythos. however, tom welling is a tv actor, and nothing more. trust me, there is a difference. tv actors are severely limited in terms of acting range, and often lack the charisma to carry a film. Tom Welling is such an actor. Take his roles in “Cheaper by the Dozen”, as Steve Martin’s son. Granted, he has a small role, in the films, but he barely stands out. Not only that, but he portrays his character in those movies almost exactly the same way he does Clark in smallville, minus the superpowers. Get my point? The point is he’s a good tv actor, but he’s a horrible movie actor. I’m sure WB knows this too. Hence, you’ll notice they’re auditioning other actors for the role of Superman. Seriously, if Welling had the potential to be a movie actor, then we wouldn’t be having this debate as the role would be his already.

  13. @Steven

    Good argument on the collaborative/dictatoral style of directing. Brandon Routh’s performance especially felt more like an impersonation and this fits in with my argument that Singer wanted to feed off people’s affection for Christopeher Reeve. Whether he wanted to or not Routh never would’ve got the chance to make his own mark on the character.

    However I feel Tom Welling could become a succesful movie actor – if the right role presented itself – he certainly has the movie star look about him. It’s hard to judge any movie star potential at the moment given the fact that he’s been in so few. He only had a supporting role in Cheaper By The Dozen and it wasn’t a great role at that. When Smallville does eventually end will he get more opportunity to prove if he can make it in movies.

    Telelvision has become almost as important as movies in the last ten years and the indivudal performances of say James Glandifoni (Sopranos) and Hugh Laurie (House) have been just as impressive as many performances by movie stars. Both could hold their own in any movie and yes I’d have to put Welling in that league also.

    Finally you say that tv actors struggle to become mainstream movie actors. But didn’t Bruce Willis go from Moonlighting to becoming one of the biggest stars of the 90s? Didn’t George Clooney go from ER to Ocean’s Eleven and winning an Oscar? Robin Williams too went from Mork and Mindy to having a very successful movie career.

    So I think there’s hope for Welling yet though I will say that he shouldn’t be the lead for the Superman reboot. That needs to be standalone and completely free of any continuity to either Smallville,the Christoher Reeve films or Superman Returns.

    • @lebsta

      Ah yes, exceptions to the golden rule. You can also add Michael J. Fox to the list, as well, since he originally started off as a TV actor, before he became a movie actor. However, I don’t consider the actors you mentioned to be TV actors that evolved to become film actors, as I consider them movie actors that just happen to start on TV first. I get what your saying, and I could just as easily be wrong on Welling. In fact, I hope I am, as I think he’s done a wonderful job on Smallville. However, the reality is that most actors on TV are just that…TV actors. Take Jerry Seinfeld for instance. Great comedian and actor, but he’s a horrible movie actor. Same thing for Matt LeBlanc, Mathew Perry, and William Shatner (Yes, he was good in all his Star Trek films, but how many of you can name another film outside of that franchise he was good in?). If you notice, all these actors were good in their perspective TV show roles, where they played the same character week after week. However, when it came time to make their big screen debuts…they all choked. Not one of them was able to carry a movie, and most of them (especially in Seinfeld’s case) came off acting and sounding like the same TV character they’ve played for years. This is what I’m talking about right there. Sure, there’s exceptions to the golden rule, but those actors were born movie stars that just happen to get their breaks on TV first. Whereas 90 percent of TV actors are just that…TV actors. They could never be anything more than that.

      Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a bad thing, but that’s just reality of their situations. Sorry, as much as I loved Jerry’s show, he’ll never be able to star in a Academy Award winning film ever. Why? Because he doesn’t have what it takes to be a movie actor. I hope I’m wrong about Tom Welling, but I guess time will tell…

      I’m not saying your wrong by any means, as you are right about shows like the Sapranos and House. There’s no question that TV shows have evolved over the years, as dramatic shows are becoming more popular. However, for every Michael J. Fox, Robin Williams, and Bruce Willis, that does a great job making the transition between TV and movies. There’s a Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld), David Faustino (Married with Children), Matthew Perry (Friends), Terri Hatcher (Lois & Clark), and Danny Masterson (That 70′s Show). Great actors on TV, but fail to make the transition onto the big screen. Granted, there are quite a few exceptions to the rule, as you pointed out, but that still doesn’t diminish the fact that the majority of TV actors wouldn’t make the transition too well. Seriously, do you honestly think Fran Drescher (The Nanny) would make a great movie actress? If you say no, then I rest my case. The reality is majority of TV actors are limited in acting range in comparison to movie stars.

      However, I get what your saying, and I don’t disagree that TV shows are evolving more to be more on par with films. That’s a good observation, but it’ll be quite a while before we can honestly say that any TV actor has the potential to be a movie star, as most of them, in reality, don’t have the charisma or acting range for it.

      Tom Welling is a great TV actor, and he’s definitely a better actor than Brandon Routh. However, we’ll have to wait and see. I hope I’m wrong about Welling, as it would be a shame to see him almost disappear like Dean Cain did when “Lois and Clark” ended. However, if he did, then I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised.

      For the record though, in regards to the upcoming superman reboot, I do agree with you whole heartedly. It should be a stand alone continuity, one worthy of the name Superman.

  14. no one involved with the previous movie should be allowed near the new one. it was such an awful piece of trash. new cast and new writers and new directors should be the order of the day.

  15. Ken, I wouldn’t say it was an awful piece of trash. I rather enjoyed the film. It was actually quite good. It just wasn’t well-received, is all.

  16. since Bryan Singer took away Brandon Routh,he ain’t taking away my other Favorite Kevin Spacey because he is Lex Luthor, he is The Best, there is no one better. James Masters as Brainiac, Brandon Routh as Hank Henshaw,Micheal Clarke Duncan as Darkseid,Bryan Austin Green as Metallo,David Tennant as The Toyman, Stephen Lang as General Sam Lane,Tom Welling as Bizarro,the Rest of the cast of Superman Man of Steel stays the same.

    • Some of that may work, except for one thing. Michael Clarke Duncan, though a great actor, is now dead. He may be a great Darkseid, but to pull off the role, he has to pull a Darkseid in real life and come back from another realm.

      • Thanks, One_Man_Army…was just logging in to tell davidjohnson that, as fine an actor as Duncan was, he’s not a good enough actor to get God to allow an encore/2nd curtain call.

        • Indeed. Really sucks too. I actually quite enjoyed his character on the Finder. Man, if only he could do a Darkseid and come back. This world has lost a great actor in him.

  17. I just want to thank One-Man-Army for his comments on my post, and I humbly agree about what danlister and One-Man-Army said about Michael Clark Duncan. As This World has lost a great actor in him.

    if you liked some of my idea, I could add some casting suggestions e;g for Metallo Brian Austin Green while this may be an odd choice since he was Metallo in The TV Series of Smallville, there is always a different way to go at it such as somehow connecting Lex Luthor to John Corben’s transformation into Metallo but he becomes more machine than man type way think more Terminator version of Darth Vader, that is an example, if I can add another example,DOOMSDAY casting Doomsday maybe quite hard so I’m thinking of Tim Roth’s Abomination and The Doomsday of the Video Game and The comics all round into one, with a voice actor I’m thinking Hugo Weaving since he is no longer The Red Skull in Captain America Cinematic film universe. and since that he provided the voice of Megatron that voice could be Thee Voice for Doomsday.