Russell Crowe To Play Superman’s Dad Jor-El in ‘Man of Steel’

Published 4 years ago by , Updated August 13th, 2013 at 11:16 am,

Richard Donner seems to have started a Superman movie tradition when he cast legendary actor Marlon Brando as Superman’s dad, Jor-El, in his 1978 classic. Now Warner Bros., and the team behind Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel are continuing in that tradition, by snagging a famous name to play Jor-El in the upcoming Superman reboot.

That’s right: Superman’s new daddy is none other than Russell Crowe.

Variety has the exclusive on the news, claiming that producer Chris Nolan had been pushing for a headlining name to play Jor-El role for some time, and Crowe is the man they got. It’s also stated that a big-name actress is being sought to play Superman’s mother, though no word yet on who that might be.

We were reminded during a recent panel on upcoming changes to the Superman character that Donner was one of the first to realize that populating a comic book movie with accomplished thespians in supporting roles was a great way to elevate the potentially-campy material to a proper dramatic level. It’s a tactic that Nolan himself has confessed as having borrowed for the casting of his Batman trilogy.

Well, you don’t get much more “accomplished” than an actor of Crowe’s caliber. The one-time Oscar-winner (thrice nominated) has so many hits under his belt that it’s almost pointless to list them (you know the titles). As far as being a match for the role of Jor-El: one of Crowe’s trademarks is his tough-yet-vulnerable┬ádemeanor (see: Gladiator, LA Confidential, Cinderella Man) and he can definitely play the nervous smart/clever guy (A Beautiful Mind, State of Play, The Insider). These qualities make Crowe a more than sensible choice to play Jor-EL, a character who is a brilliant scientist and loving family man, forced to face the end of his world and find the courageous resolve to save his only son.

superman zod ursa non Russell Crowe To Play Supermans Dad Jor El in Man of Steel

Jor-El (Brando) banishes General Zod to the Phantom Zone in Donner’s ‘Superman’

Considering that Man of Steel will feature Kryptonian villains General Zod (Michael Shannon) and Faora, Crowe may actually get a significant amount of screen time to fill. Recent Superman comics have featured a more extensive exploration of Zod and Jor-El’s history on the planet Krypton; will those comic book storylines influence the shape of Man of Steel? It’s quite possible. Other actors in the film include Henry Cavill (The Tudors) as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Kevin Costner as Pa Kent and Diane Lane as Ma Kent.

What do you guys think of Russell Crowe playing Superman’s pappy? Good choice?

Man of Steel will be in theaters in December of 2012.

Source: Variety

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  1. I’m down. Way down with this. :)

  2. To this I say NO, NO, NO NO and NO!

  3. I love it!

  4. Are the people casting this movie on drugs? It just keeps getting worse! This is going to be worse than The Quest For Piece!

    • i think u are on drugs, the casting is solid

    • totally agree with you man! what a piece of crap this film is shaping up to be! :S too bad too cause i love super man…blah.

    • You can’t be serious…

    • Relax DSB, lots of time left for this one.

      • Lots of tme for what exactly? For them to make the casting worse?

        • Lots of time for this to be a quality film, the casting seems fine IMO, but I will just wait for some more material to be released, or any material for that matter before I start passing judgement.

        • DrSamBeckett Stop whining like a little girl and whait to see the movie, or at least the trailer…

          • Sanpauli, Stop whining like a little fanboy stooge at other people’s opinions. Little girls have more emotional maturity than you.

            • Sorry Superman775 i didn’t know that i was discussing with “mature” people talking about superhero movies. So like you are sooo emotionaly mature to judge my “emotional maturity” and to be responding in a Superhero movie coment, that even doesen’t involve you, I say sorry to you… nah! that was all sarcasm.

              You are whining like a little girl too…

    • I think the monkey who is in charge of the “push button board of decision making” needs to retire.

    • You know, some drugs make your spelling go all funny. Something you wanna share with us??? ^-^

    • It does feel kind of like WB said “Stuff this movie full of big names!” without any thought to their fitness to the roles. But then again, I feel the same way with Reynolds and Blake Lively in Green Lantern. WB saying “Get me a big name for Hal Jordan … and whoever that girl is!” without any thought to fitness for the roles.

    • DSB, I think you have a good point….I was once pretty excited to see this, but now, no way.

      • Same, but I’ll see it just b/c Superman is my second favorite superhero.

    • It’s spelled “Peace.” Moron.

      • Erik…

        I have to ask: To whom are you speaking? The only person above that used either word, PIECE or PEACE, was luke, and he DEFINITELY used the correct word and the proper spelling. If you are not referring to him, I apologize. If, however, you ARE talking about that particular comment, you’ll REALLY want to think much more carefully before you call someone else a moron.

        Just sayin’…

        BTW, I completely disagree with WHAT he’s saying, but the word choice was correct.

  5. Fascintating choice. Would not have ever thought about Crowe. Very cool

  6. The casting for this movie is insane. And I love everyone they have cast so far.

  7. fightten around krypton with jor el and his trusty tugboat, tugger!

    good choice. he’s got a commanding voice, which is needed to voice the fortress and guide clark (like terrance stamp for smallville). plus hes a good choice for his acting range, like stated in the article above.

  8. I’m guessing that a big part of the movie will be of the last days of krypton,how Jor El and Zod became foes and then follow up to Kal El been sending to Earth.

  9. Love Russell Crowe!. This movie is going to cost duckets to make

  10. Since Nolan is still involved (made obvious in the article) I always thought Michael Caine would play Jor-El since he is Nolan’s good luck charm in a sense. That would have been interesting.

    • Involved as in filming Batman at the same time. He really is omnipotent.

      • Is Nolan becoming the Trump of the film industry? He just puts his name on a project to obviously give it his juice.

        How much involvement is writing a treatment for the movie then handing it to Snyder who promptly rewrites it?

        I too would like to produce a movie by giving a director a vague idea and then suggest casting choices while I film my own, much better movie.

        • My point exactly.

        • There’s far more involved in producing a film than what you’ve stated. I’m sure one of the reasons he had to step back a little was because doing TDKR and handling as much of the production responsibilities as he was, ended up being too much.

  11. Jor el should be played by a 30 year old actor since kal el is just a baby on krypton.

  12. This is way better than Bryan Singer version by far.

  13. I love how some people are saying “Yes, I love it, GREAT” and others are saying “No, I hate it, bleh”

    Oh people ;)

    • foopher 2.0…

      Again, you say what needs to be said…LOL


  14. This is brilliant casting as far as I am concerned.
    For my money Russell is the best actor working today.

    Russell only signs on to scripts he likes and that is alone
    is a clue to what this Man Of Steel is actually made of.
    This is by far the most encouraging news to date.

    • “For my money Russell is the best actor working today.”

      I actually have no idea what this means… Honestly…
      Would you… COULD you explain it to me please?

      • With “for my money” I meant “in my opinion”.

  15. very interesting. it looks like we may be in for a fairly in-depth origin story. personally, i wasn’t looking forward to a complete re-telling of the origins of superman (how many times must we sit through this?) but from all of the developments and high profile casting it seems snyder and nolan plan to really re-imagine all aspects of it and bring something new and exciting to the table.

  16. I thought he might be too ‘flip’ at first, but really, he can play a genius hard-ass pretty good, and he’s got that sort of elitism vs. good ole’ boy Pa Kent (Kevin Costner). He’s probably as good or better choice than anyone else. (except maybe Mel Gibson)

  17. Liam Neeson or Sam Neill.

    • Liam Neeson are u serious he already starred in Batman Begins Geez

      Sam Neill is too old for Jor El

      • What, like Chris Evans being Human Torch and Captain Torch? These Batman and Superman films aren’t connected, there is no reason Neeson couldnt do both roles.

        And why does Jor-El have to be a certain age? Brando was no spring chicken.

        • dont act silly, Chris Evans Human Torch is at FOX Studio and Captain America is at Marvel Studio two different studios for crying out loud not the same studios. maybe Batman and Superman film are not connected but they are at the same studio WB/DC. so no Liam Neeson in Superman reboot.

          Jor El in this reboot needs to be younger. we dont need another old Jor El again we need to keep away from Donner style in this reboot.

    • I agree. Neeson would have been perfect. It doesn’t matter that he was in Batman b/c these two franchises will have nothign to do with each other.

      • lol, WHY in Neeson seemingly perfect for so many roles!??? I still want him to play Dr. Strange dammit!

        • Because he’s an authoritative figure. And an frickin awesome actor.

          • Definitely my favorite actor.

          • DSB…

            I agree…but so is Crowe.

            • Agreed Archaeon, I don’t see why anyone would have a problem with this casting choice. It’s going to be a relatively small part most likely and they will dress up Crowe to look the part well.

  18. Crowe is a good actor but I don’t see him in this part. Getting a hard core Aussie to play a super advanced space alien (who, in my mind, has a British accent)… it’s just wrong

    Snyder is going to RUIN this movie.

    DC has to be very careful because at this point, one wrong move from them will put Marvel WAY ahead – not just with their cinematic ventures but with the comics in general. DC was very bold in “recreating” all of their characters (we are yet to see how it pans out), but if DC gets the comics wrong as well as this movie… I think it will be the beginning of the end for them…


  19. Love this and can’t wait for the movie!

  20. Great casting, there’s rumors Connie nielson will play Lara.
    Great cast so far (smallville fans are hates of man of steel because its not the smallville cast)
    Who will play jimmy? (Colin hanks my choice) and who will play Perry white (my choice is ed Harris or bob hoskins) and lex luthor (Timothy olyphant my choice)

    • Hugh Laurie for Perry White.

      • I like the Hugh Laurie idea, complete outside the box thinking. Russell Crowe for Jor-El is a great one too. His name would have never come to mind, but I think it could be really great.

    • I don’t think smallville fans are upset because its not a smallville thing. I think it has to do with the crappy casting, crappy plot, and crappy snyder! I’m a smallville fan, and I am happy to see a Superman film w/o Smallville, but this is just sounding and looking rubbish.

      • Yeah. I don’t get the accusation either. If anything is going to piss off Smallville fans, it is sitting though the same plot beats, and going over what feels like tired ground to them. Depending on how the movie treats Lois, that might piss them off too. But these are complaints Donner movie fans will also have, especially in regards to tired rehash.

  21. Well he has the EGO of Marlon Brando. I wonder if he will use cue cards like Brando did and make up lines when he couldnt bother to read the lines?

    • brando could do whatever the F@CK HE WANTED!!! he was the birth of the onscreen badboy (the wild one, 1951). all his flicks are considered all time classics, where snyder will be remembered as…well something. crowe should do us a favor and beat snyder’s skull in. that being said, very apprehensive of this flick. if that wasn’t obvious enuff.

      • And he did do whatever he wanted, which included a lot of reprhensible behavior and laziness on his part. He became a major snob and most of his film career was spent on over hyped movies and lack luster acting to say the least.

  22. This seems like a Nolan-esque move, surround your hero with tons of talented supporting cast.

    However, I doubt Snyder has what it takes to make anything more than flashy fluff.

    • that my friend is a fact. this casting is snyder wishin’ he was nolan.

  23. Oi! Cal-El! I’m your dad, by cracky!

    • Ha!

    • That was great and dead on!

  24. Aleric, if you knew anything about Russell Crowe’s work ethic you would know that he spends an inordinate amount of time in research for each and every role. He is one actor who will NEVER need cue cards because he;s not a lazy actor and wouldn’t dream of not learning the script.
    I think it could be quite interesting to see him as Jor-El, especially if the film is based more on what went on before Krypton was destgroyed.

  25. Someone brought up a good point that if this movie were happening 15 years ago, this cast would make sense. Diane Lane as Lois. Costner, before he became irritatingly smug, as Clark Kent. A still slim Crowe as Zod. That cast makes sense as opposed to the random oddness of today’s cast.

    • costner as superman is the dumbest thing i’ve ever read. i don’t care what year it is. and i don’t hate costner at all. he gets a bad rap most times.

  26. John Mahoney FOR PERRY WHITE!!!

  27. I don’t mind this casting. I am not sure that they needed to find somebody as big as Crowe for this role though, just as I don’t think Marlon Brando was really necessary in the first movie either (though he certainly was a striking figure).

    • They someone like him in because at the time super hero movies were considered campy.

  28. Fine by me.

  29. As a fan of Crowe, I like this casting. I think he’ll do a great job and I kind of see the resemblence with Cavill. However, I REALLY don’t think we need to sit through yet another retelling of Superman’s origins. Everyone on earth knows it by now. Now if they were calling this movie: The Last Days of Krypton, with the struggle against Zod and his army, then it would be an interesting movie. I absolutely love the Superman character, but this movie has me feeling “Meh.”