Moviegoers are going to meet a multitude of new characters in the DC Expanded Universe next year, when Zack Snyder's much-anticipated Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters. Chief among the fresh faces will be Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne/Batman and Jesse Eisenberg's Lex Luthor, who both have reasons for distrusting Superman (Henry Cavill) and looking for a way to best the Last Son of Krypton.
It'd be in the realm of plausibility, then, if the two began the film as allies before Batman has a change of heart and forms the Justice League with Kal-El. However, based on Eisenberg's latest quotes about his role, it sounds like the relationship between Luthor and Wayne is going to be much more complex.
In the Total Film coverage of Batman V Superman (hat tip Batman News), Eisenberg talked about playing the villain in Snyder's latest superhero film and how strange it was to go up against someone of Affleck's stature:
“It’s strange acting with people like Ben Affleck, having to condescend to someone like him. Off set, you’re thinking of this person in reverential terms, and then on set I condescend him, really quite nasty…”
Eisenberg's use of the word "condescend" will surely invoke memories of his Oscar-nominated turn as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network. That character certainly looked down upon the people he associated with, treating many of them as if they were insignificant or annoying obstacles in his path to changing the world. Luthor obviously thinks highly of himself, and it will be interesting to see how his interactions with Wayne play out. Instead of being a true partnership, it sounds like it could be a reluctant alliance as the two deal with Superman's emergence (if they work together at all).
Even more fascinating is the revelation in Total Film that when Eisenberg first met with Snyder to discuss a role in the film, it was not for Lex Luthor. Originally, the director was looking for someone older, but after talking with Eisenberg, he was convinced to retool the part and make Luthor a young billionaire, who in a way could be similar to the Zuckerberg role Eisenberg played to great success. Fans were already heavily scrutinizing Eisenberg after his casting, so this factoid puts even more pressure on the thespian to deliver as the iconic evildoer. If he doesn't do the role justice, many will be wondering what might have been if Snyder stayed with his initial vision.
If there's anything to encourage viewers about the change, it's that whatever Eisenberg did in that meeting was strong enough to make Snyder and writer Chris Terrio revise their idea for the character. It's not every day something like that happens. Snyder and his team seem to understand the magnitude of Batman V Superman and what it means for their blossoming franchise moving forward. It's unlikely they would alter such a major part of that equation like Luthor unless they were 100 percent confident that it was the right decision. There's too much at stake to try a gamble for the sake of it.
Time will tell if their 21st century reimagining of Luthor will work. The latest Dawn of Justice trailer went over well with fans, but Eisenberg's performance is still largely a question mark. For his part, the actor has been singing praises for the screenplay and how well-rounded it presents its characters. Fingers crossed that Lex is one of the best elements of Batman V Superman, no matter who he's condescending towards.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern Corps on June 19th, 2020. Untitled Batman and Superman solo films will be coming at dates TBD.
Source: Total Film (via Batman News)