Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor will look like this …

So, thanks to ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, we know what Jesse Eisenberg will look like as Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY reveals the first look at Jesse Eisenberg
as Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
… Which just looks like Eisenberg, 31, has shaved his head. The proof of the pudding will be in what he does onscreen (more on that after the jump!) — which should always be the case.

Director Zack Snyder gave EW, which made the big reveal this morning, a preview of what fans should expect from Eisenberg's take on Luthor.

“He’s not any of the Lexes that you’ve seen, that’s for sure … other than him being a captain of industry and one person to the world and another person to himself. And bald, of course," Snyder told EW.

The deep-voiced Clancy Brown played Lex Luthor
in several animated series and movies.
As yours truly pointed out in my Feb. 4, 2014 op-ed (printed in its entirety below!) about the unorthodox choice of casting Eisenberg as Luthor, EW writer Keith Staskiewic says: "Eisenberg might not be the first person you’d think of to play the supervillain, but he did have experience portraying a morally challenged billionaire in 'The Social Network.'"

“Our Lex is disarming and he’s not fake,” Snyder said. “He says what he believes and he says what’s on his mind. If you can unravel the string and decipher what he means, it’s all there.”

As you could infer, I'm not sold on Eisenberg playing Luthor. In short, he has a lot to prove he's up to playing one of the most morally corrupt villains in the DC Comics Universe. And not to mention of DC's "top two intellectuals" (as CCC guest columnist David Hudson says in his three-part preview of "Dawn of Justice").
Jesse Eisenberg appears at the Madrid,
Spain premiere of "The Social
Network" in October 2010.

For my complete thoughts, here's the op-ed I posted Feb. 4, 2014 very soon after Snyder made his surprsing casting announcement. Keep in mind this was written before Snyder announced his film would have the cumbersome title of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." LMK what you think in the comment section below. …

First of all, I’ll say it again: Including Lex Luthor in the Batman-Superman film is brilliant. (For the record, I predicted such a thing would be possible soon after the project was announced.)

After all, every fan wants to see their favorite hero take on their archenemy.

Making Luthor the villain isn’t just logical, the decision is a must — if not inevitable.

Kevin Spacey's Lex Luthor holds a piece of Kryptonite
in director Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" film in 2006.
For Superman fans, there’s nothing better than pitting the Man of Steel against his most dangerous foe. Well played, Teams (Zack) Snyder, Warner Bros. and DC Entertainment. Assuming Luthor is a multi-millionaire in the Batman-Superman film, it’s a natural way to introduce billionaire Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck)/Batman.

There are two ways to do this: 1) There’s a corporate deal pending between LexCorp and Wayne Enterprises or 2) Wayne/Batman’s detective skills have sniffed out some of Luthor’s shady business dealings, which brings him to Metropolis.

(Or the writers could do a little of both, as was done with the Chinese mobster accountant in “The Dark Knight.”)

And before you can say “World’s Finest” — the name this film should get (as in “Man of Steel: World’s Finest”) — the Batman is on the case and Affleck’s Dark Knight will cross paths with Henry Cavill’s Superman. Just as likely is reporter Clark Kent will be covering whatever brings Wayne to Metropolis.

Gene Hackman played Lex Luthor in three movies.
But the decision to cast Jesse Freakin’ Eisenberg as Lex Luthor? This is the dude the WB/DCE has decided is the best option to portray the most notorious of Superman’s foes and one of the most memorable villains of all time?

The online rumors that Bryan Cranston and Joaquin Phoenix could have been cast as Luthor likely were bogus, but they were certainly more appealing than what actually happened.

Any actor playing Luthor needs two essential qualities: Charisma and presence. I give you Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey. ‘Nuff said!

Nailing Luthor means being mean, nasty and unpredictable. Again: Hackman and Spacey.

Let’s just say Eisenberg will need to dig deep. He’ll have to find his inner bad dude — and I mean baaaaad dude — not to mention, radiate some onscreen presence and charisma I’ve never seen him have.

The comic-book version of Lex Luthor as done by
artist Alex Ross.
Now the inevitable question: Can Eisenberg do it? Is it possible an actor who appears to be a very nice guy embody comicdom’s vilest character?

To truly “get” Luthor, Eisenberg will have to be such a scum he’ll need to have the audience groan at every unethical thing he does or decision he makes and have us wince at every hair-raising situation he creates for Superman, Batman and even Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Most importantly, fans must want to root against Luthor and cheer when the world’s finest superheroes defeat him, foil his plans and knock him down a few notches.

You see, Luthor is such a creep, you’ve got to hate him with every fiber of your being any time he makes an appearance onscreen or even when someone utters his name.

That’s how nasty Jesse Eisenberg needs to be.

Best of luck, sir; you’ll need it.

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