‘Superman vs. Batman’ Rumor: Mark Strong or Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor?

Published 2 years ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:24 am,

Lex Luthor Man of Steel Cameo Superman vs. Batman Rumor: Mark Strong or Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor?

The topic of the Batman vs. Superman sequel to Man of Steel is heating up something fierce. While we’ve been discussing fanboy goodies like reasons why a Superman/Batman movie can be a hit or what comic books to draw from, other websites have been digging for any scoops they can related to the film, resulting in some conflicting casting rumors that are (in our humble opinion) good either way, no matter what turns out to be true.

We’ve already discussed why a Clark Kent/Bruce Wayne/Lex Luthor setup is best for Man of Steel 2, and even actor choices to play a mature Bruce/Batman – but what about Luthor? Which actors are suited to portraying Superman’s archenemies, a serpentine businessman who is also the greatest criminal mind of his time?

According to El Mayimbe at Latino-Review – via some not-so-subtle Twitter hints - Breaking Bad star Bryan Cranston is the man Warner Bros. is looking at to play the new Lex Luthor:

However, Digital Spy has a conflicting report (actually, it’s not so much a report as an interview) in which they spoke to Kick-Ass and Green Lantern star Mark Strong about rumors that he has been approached to play Luthor in the next Superman film. Strong’s response to the query was a bit too cryptic to be ignored: “All I can say is… watch this space.”

Lex Luthor Bryan Cranston Mark Strong Superman vs. Batman Rumor: Mark Strong or Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor?

From a credibility standpoint, either actor is a believable enough choice. As Mayimbe stated, Cranston is finishing up a chapter of his career with the final episodes of Breaking Bad, and could indeed be looking for that big franchise payday as reward for his years of hustling in the industry. Meanwhile, Strong is one of the, well, strongest character actors working today – not to mention, he has a relationship with DC/WB, having played a major supporting role in their Green Lantern tentpole.

The downsides? Well, Cranston will be nearly sixty by the time Batman vs. Superman is released, and having seen him go bald for major stretches of Breaking Bad, the man certainly looks his age (read: too old, arguably, to stand against Henry Cavill – even if Cavill will be standing next to a somewhat older Batman). Strong (at age 50) is no spring chicken, either, but it’s hard to debate that something in his Austrian/Italian genes is preserving him well: he looks like he would be a better Lex to stand against Cavill’s Superman and an older Batman.

gl sinestro hi res Superman vs. Batman Rumor: Mark Strong or Bryan Cranston as Lex Luthor?

Strong as Sinestro in ‘Green Lantern’

Sure, Strong has already been cast as a major DC Universe character (Sinestro in Green Lantern), but A) He was under enough makeup that the casual moviegoer likely didn’t recognize him, and B) DC/WB currently seems intent on ignoring Green Lantern’s existence in the universe they are building. Taking those points into account, a Mark Strong DC movie double-dip shouldn’t be that much of a problem. Plus, Sherlock Holmes (another WB tentpole) proved that Strong is more than solid as a diabolical criminal genius; taking on an icon like Lex would be no problem for an actor of his caliber. Cranston on the other hand, can get a little hammy in his film roles (sorry, I said it). 

Provided that even ONE of these options is true – who would YOU rather see play Lex Luthor? Vote in our poll below!

[poll id="659"]


Batman vs. Superman (Man of Steel 2) will be in theaters sometime in 2015. Stay tuned for updates.

Sources: El Mayimbe & Digital Spy

Follow Kofi Outlaw on Twitter @ppnkof
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  1. Wow. If this is true, I couldn’t be more pumped. It’s a bright light of sunshine amidst the news/rumors of them going with an older, Frank Miller-esque, TDKReturns type of Batman which IMHO is the wrong move. This is starting to sound more & more like a Batman movie with Superman in it than that of a proper World’s Finest team-up movie or even a MoS sequel. But this Lex Luthor casting news/rumors brings a little hope. I like both actors, but I personally think BC would make a better LL and he seems to fit more in the world Snyder & Co. is trying to create. That and Mark Strong is and always will be Sinestro in my eyes.

    • Snyder & Co. *are* trying to create.

  2. Mark Strong.

    I’m thinking hard to come up with someone else to add to the list but I think Strong is the only real contender for me.

  3. Mark Strong never said he was Lex Luthor. Maybe he comes back as Sinestro. It’s the same universe and it would lead into rebooting Green Lantern in the Justice League movies. Maybe they can salvage Ryan Reynolds, because he wasn’t a bad choice – it was just a bad movie done poorly.

    I can see Sinestro approaching Luthor, or Luthor being introduced to Brainiac via Sinestro. THAT would be sweet.

    Plus, you could even end the movie on a climactic point where Batman realizes that they need to gather more help to because there are a butt load more aliens out there. Superman’s arising (and subsequent vanquishing of the Universally renowned General Zod) could even act like The Dark Knight (Nolan) where the Joker comes alive to match Batman. Otherworldly aliens could see the Last Son of Krypton (and Hope) as a challenge!

  4. Love me some Cranston, but Mark Strong is awesome, hot and could definitely give Cavill a run for his money, especially if they play up the Lex being not only his arch nemesis but occasional rival romantically for Lois Lane.

  5. Mark Strong for Lex Luthor

    …And Bryan Cranston for Commissioner Gordon

  6. matthew mcconaughey I think would be a great pick

  7. Vin.

  8. i got a “your message appears to be spam” screen when i tried posting my message?

    anyone knows why this is? o.O

  9. Why is this even a question? If you watched Smallville, you already know who the best Lex Luthor is…it’s a no-brainer that Michael Rosenbaum should be back in the role – he was the best choice for Lex then and still is now!

  10. Michael Rosenbaum is THE Lex Luthor he made the part his own and he made Lex Luthor believable

  11. Michael Rosenbaum IS Lex Luthor and his age is PERFECT for the role. No offense but let’s face it, the other two choices are too old for the role.

    • Uh…. You DO know how old Michael is right????

  12. Michael Rosenbaum always will be the best LexLuthor Hands down

  13. Only one choice possible in my book. Michael Rosenbaum IS the definitive Lex Luthor. Everyone else pales in comparison.

  14. Casting Rosenbaum as Luthor *might* make up for casting Affleck as Batman. Maybe. It would at least get me to the theater. More than once, depending on how much screen time he got… Casting him ought to be a no brainer – they already know HE can act, and do that particular part. But, when did logic ever rule Hollywood…

  15. Michael Rosenbaum is perfect for the role!! He was great in Smallville and I think he can be even greater now! I would love to see him portray lex again!!

  16. Michael Rosenbaum is by far the BEST Lex Luthor.

  17. The clear choice to me is Michael Rosenbaum. He’s a phenomenal actor that has already proven he can master the complex role of Lex Luthor. Let’s be honest, the last time they tried to bring in a ‘big name’ for the role it failed misserably. Stick with someone who knows the character and has been involved in the Superman universe for over a decade.

    • Agreed!

  18. Michael Rosenbaum embodies Lex Luthor. Anytime someone else plays him I just picture Michael in my mind anyway.

  19. Only Michael Rosenbaum can do justice to this role like he has been doing it for a decade..!
    Any other choice – will only be doing injustice to the actor and the character !

  20. Did someone just account swap like mad and make loads of Michael Rosenbaum posts?

    • Probably not. He did tweet this article so that might explain the comments. Although he was good in Smallville why not give the roll to him? Just because someone’s a name doesn’t mean they’re necessarily better for a role.

      • It was just that there was a stream of ‘Rosenbaum for Luthor! Again…’ comments. I didn’t realise that the man himself had a hand in it. I’m not trying to be mean, but I’ve only ever seen Michael Rosenbaum in Smallville (and heard him as The Flash in a few things) so I don’t know how well equipped he would be to take up a major role in a many-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars movie.

        That’s probably what the WB/DC higher-ups would think too. Maybe. I think he could do alright with the new ‘idea’ of Lex according to Snyder and Goyer – that he’s a ‘different kind of billionaire’ that isn’t just a genius corporate executive but also a public figure like Bill Gates. Also, according to Google, Rosenbaum’s left handed. So if, say, his right hand got heat-vision’d or batarang’d, he would be ok with his arm in a sling.

        • True. He’s a great actor and doesn’t do a lot of stuff but is always memorable in the bit parts that he is in. I watched Smallville for 7 yrs because his portrayal of Lex was so awesome. Well that and he’s good looking.

  21. Cranston was announced the part

    • Indeed. Kind of exciting, right?

    • I read that article it didn’t say it was definite. That being said he may do a good job. I’ll wait til it comes out on DVD though. After watching Man of Steel I won’t be spending my money on a sequel.

  22. Mark Strong is by far the better of the two for the role. Cranston is a great TV actor, but I don’t like his movie roles. The Total Recall remake sucked and his role in Argo could have been played by anyone(well, not anyone but it’s not like Cranston was the only guy for the role). Mark Strong looks stronger, no pun intended, more diabolical, and has much more experience playing villains. I hope he gets the part.

  23. Mark Strong is by far the better choice. Bryan Cranston is a great TV actor, but his recent performances in movies are not nearly as impressive. The Total Recall remake sucked hard, and John Carter wasn’t very good. He was good in Argo, but it was a small and not very difficult role to play. Mark Strong has much more experience playing villains, and has more movie experience in general. He also looks stronger, no pun intended, meaner and more diabolical than Cranston. He is perfect for the role.