‘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. luthor need to be a big guy not just anybody to be luthor in a makeup

    i think from a point of view of a franchise, they need to use younger actors around late 20′s and mid 30′, for super heroes(we know that they are young people they can looks like men on 35 and 40′s)
    it give WB DC more years to release movies and even a shared universe, with the same faces, also give them time to create films for each character and less makeup and CGI, younger actors can build muscle on their own, hello this is DC.

    contrary to IM, Tony is just a regular guy but very smart, in super suit, in the other hand, DC characters are most of the time or the main ones, are big guys and strong

    i thinks is time to move on, thinking on the future no just for one movie,(DC takes years to release movies, it looks now they are trying to change that)

    just mo

  2. How about The Rock 1) he would be interesting playing a villain in a major comic book movie 2) he has a Lexington Luthor comic look 3) he’s bald already

    • I’m still hoping that Rock ends up as Lobo like rumoured a while back.

      • I love the much copied Simon Bizley, but Lobo was awful. A hells angel’s wet dream. ‘He’s the only one of his kind left because he killed the rest…’. Yawn.

  3. Originally Green Lantern was supposed to be the movie that started the DC Cinematic Universe.

    • Hahaha.


    • “In darkest day,……”

  4. they are trying to do a reboot of batman on the MOS, so then do it but do something for a long run not just for a few movies…


    Look, Mark Strong is a good actor and great at playing villains. Bryan Cranston, however, is one of the best and most diverse actors today. As Lex Luthor, he could totally pull off looking like a great guy to the public, while in reality is the ultimate mastermind (like what Walter White has become on Breaking Bad). If we are going to get a more complex interpretation of Lex Luthor, the version the fans want, then we need an actor who has a lot of range. Not someone who can JUST be a villain. All I’m saying is if Bryan Cranston doesn’t get Luthor, then he should at bare minimum play Commissioner Gordon (a completely different character that I think he would be terrific as).

    As for Lex Luthor, again, the new Lex Luthor we get needs to be more complex than cliché. Which means we need an actor who can play complex characters, not someone who can just be a stereotypical villain.

    • You’ve never seen many Mark Strong roles then because he’s played both good and bad and is more diverse an actor than Cranston could ever be.

      Don’t let the Breaking Bad hype train derail your sense of logic.

      • I’ve seen many Mark Strong roles, but apparently not the ones you’ve seen. However, there is no denying that Bryan Cranston is an incredible actor. There is no “Breaking Bad hype train”, he’s just a great actor, simple as that.

        • A man appreciates an actors work and that puts him on a ‘hype train’ does it? Like he can’t decide for himself. Could you be more condescending?

      • Well Said Dazz! Who s your choice? if I may ask!
        we don’t agree often but I do respect knowledge of the comic book world!

        IF your choice is neither then who is your choice as Lex? Personally like Strong for the role, and I think he better suited to take on Cavill!

        I also agree with you on The Rock playing Lobo!

  6. Also, Mark Strong has played a villain several times. And each time, it’s the same performance. I just don’t see him bringing anything new to the character.

    • So wrong. The bias is strong (tud dum, tisssh) with this one.

      • No bias here, just judging what I’ve seen. Maybe Mark Strong has done more complex roles, but from what I’ve seen him in (Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Green Lantern, to name a few) it’s just the same performance each time. Maybe I’m wrong, but Mark Strong has never struck me as an actor with a lot of range. I never said he was a BAD actor, just that I don’t see him giving a more complex take as Lex Luthor, that’s it.

        • Well, you need to see Kick Ass and above all:

          Rock N Rolla.

          Strong is P-E-R-F-E-C-T for Luthor.

    • First off, Mark Strong earned his acting chops on British telly and in the theatre where he portrayed all sorts of characters. Fair enough you’re only familiar with him due to his work in Hollywood films in which he does get typecast but believe me the man has range, he just doesn’t get those sort of roles as often as he should.
      Second, give us ‘…The version the fans want’. hypothetically, they have, and it was Mark Strong, that’s how votes work. Sounds to me more like ‘give me the version Robert W. wants.
      Third, I actually agree with you. Cranston has done wonders with Walter White and he is American, not that that should make a difference but still, it does help. Also Mark Strong is fairly well known, lets give someone else a go. I mean, how great would it be to see Heisenberg up there as Luthor. His age shouldn’t be a problem, after all lex is known for his cunning rather than his physical attributes.

      • I see what you’re saying. However, I think you misread my comment “give us the version the fans want”. I wasn’t talking about actor, I was talking about the interpretation and writing of the character. What the fans want is the more complex and decieving version of Lex, like when he became President. What I meant was from what I’ve seen Mark Strong in, I didn’t think he would be a good actor for that interpretation of Lex Luthor. I think a lot of people here are just voting for the actor, as opposed to if the actor is right for the direction they take the character.

        But again, I could be wrong. I haven’t seen anything to make me think Mark Strong has a lot of range, but maybe he can pull off a more complex version of Lex. But from what I’ve seen, I just don’t see it.

        • Fair enough. Glad I didn’t offend, as that was not my intention. I do agree with you though, I think Cranston could bring a certain pathos to the role that Strong is perhaps lacking.

          • You’re clearly one of the few people on Screenrant that DOESN’T try to offend. You seemed to at least understand that I’m not saying anything bad about Mark Strong, it’s just that from what I’ve seen him in, I don’t see him bringing much to the role.

    • I`ll bet someone else will be Lex instead of Mark Strong

  7. How about niether of these two, just pick an unknown actor.

    It’s not even confirmed that Lex is even going to be in this is it?

  8. this OLD BATMAN vs YOUNG SUPERMAN SUCKS! now they want an OLD LUTHOR? it will fail!

    • Yeah it will fail but make a least 1 billion $. BIG BIG FAIL.

    • Why would you want a YOUNG Lex Luthor? This isn’t “Smallville”. I want to see an older, conniving Lex Luthor. Someone that has acquired a great deal of knowledge through his many years. That Lex Luthor would be a great foe to a young Superman.

      • cause a guy who killed his parents when he was 12 so he could getthe insurance money to start his criminal enterprise but managed to make it looklike a mere “accident” would need AGE on his side to be conniving? we’re looking at possibly THE smartest man on earth.. who happens to thinkmorals &boundaries dont apply to him.. even at 23 he’d still be the most canniving bastard around.. just not as rich/powerful as he would be at say 40 iish

        • I see what you’re saying, but if the version of Lex we get is the super successful President of the United States, the actor can’t be in his early twenties.

  9. Neither One The choice that Mark Strong made that he already did played Sinestro from GREEN LANTERN and He may get back to the GREEN LANTERN (Part 2) sequel. Just leave him out of it. Terry O’Quinn can make a great villain playing Lex Luther. That’s who I cast ? How does that sound ?

    • +1 million for Terry O’Quinn

  10. Shave Liam McIntyre’s head and put him in the role maybe.

  11. Can we please get a Lex Luther who fights in a Mech suit!

    • That would be cool, but should be saved for later. First we should get a Luthor that everybody likes (preferably the President angle). He shouldn’t get the mech suit until he’s completely exposed as a villain to everyone.

    • Hold your horses, They will find an actor who can play Lex Luther ?

  12. sticking with the names chosen in this story, I’d go with Cranston. I’m just a big fan of the guy. as for the ageism argument, Samuel Jackson is older and I doubt it’s hindered his performance as nick fury. I bet Bryan Cox was around the same age when he played William Stryker and I thought he did a hell of a job.

    Lex Luthor will engage the man of steel with manipulation and smarts, I doubt he’ll go toe to toe with Superman in his best custom made suit. and if WB eventually factor youth into the equation, we might end up with Shia Lebouf, Channing Tatum or Dakota Fanning .

    • +1

      When it comes to a lot of really great actors, their age doesn’t really hinder their performance. I don’t understand this mentality that people can’t act once they’re middle aged. Especially when it comes to Lex Luthor, who usually isn’t a very physical character, unless they used the mech suit, but that will probably be CGI anyway.

      • Jeff Bridges as Obadiah Stane/The Iron Monger comes to mind there.

  13. Lena Headey

  14. I really think Mark Strong would be the better of the 2 to play Luthor!!

    and if El-NEVERCORRECT-ayimbe is saying Cranston, mark my word it will be the exact opposite of what that CLOWN says!
    If he says Cranston it will be Denzel Washington!
    Mayimbe has some of THE most ludicrous rumors I have ever heard SO I personally would trust my sons 3rd grade teacher before I tust in Mayimbe!!

    • I don’t think so, Terry O’Quinn may get the vote to play Lex Luther. Mark Strong has no choice to play other villains.

  15. Wanna see Mark Strong again as Sinestro in Green Lantern #2, with Reynolds back as Hal Jordan. Just make Hal much more serious. And if that isn’t enough, DC/Warner could combine it with The Flash (Barry Allen) in there as well, and the Reverse-Flash, Professor Zoom. Tell me you wouldn’t want to go see a two-on-two slobberknocker like that, if they wrote the script better this time around….!!!!

  16. Hmmm…I only know Mark Strong from Sinestro in Green Lantern, and don’t know Cranston at all, although either one could probably pull off the look. I wonder when we will get to see Supers fight Brainiac?

    • Strong played someone in John Carter who betrayed a race to uphold something or other and became the main villain pulling the strings if you’ve seen that movie.

  17. Paint ‘em green, and there is your Martian Manhunter!

  18. Why choose? Lex and Sinestro would be a worthy challenge the World’s Finest.

  19. Billy Zane

  20. Terry O’Quinn yes, Billy Zane no. The man can’t act.
    Hate all this ageism stuff as well. Teen dramas exist to soak up all the glorified catalogue models. In films surely we want people with actual screen presence who can bring a sense of gravitas to a role.

  21. i would say Bryan Cranston because IMO he’s a great actor but just because he’s bald doesn’t mean he’ll pull off the character. Kevin Spacey is also a great actor but i don’t think he pulled off Lex Luthor too well in Superman Returns. DC/WB should get someone from the UK but not Mark Strong. i don’t have anyone in mind right now tho4

  22. I love Bryan.. Bt his look is too raw for lex Luther. Mark strong practically embodies and looks exactly like lex Luther does

  23. My pick would be Cranston but he has to play it straight. Kofi is 100% correct in saying that he can ham it up at times.
    This is nothing against Strong. It’s just that he’s done the villain more than a few times and I’d rather see somebody else.

    PS. I love the new mobile layout.

  24. I would be happy with either of them. I think they’d both do phenomenal work.

  25. Any actor can shave their head.

  26. If I had to choose, I’ll go with Strong…
    Then again, this is hollywood, so in the end everything goes to how deal and negotiations solves the issue.

  27. Just saw a preview for a TNT show Low Winter Sun with Strong in it. Looks interesting.

  28. Cranston would be awesome!

  29. Lex – Timothy Olyphant
    Sinestro – Mark Strong
    Commissioner Gordon – Bryan Cranston

    Problem solved.