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BATMAN VS. SUPERMAN Has Found Its Lex Luthor and Alfred

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by on January 31, 2014

You know what’s better than a million Batman vs. Superman casting rumors? A billion Batman vs. Superman casting rumors. Even better than that? Real, confirmed casting news straight from Warner Bros.! Well, today is your lucky day – or not, depending on how you take what comes next – because Warner Bros. announced in a press release that it has cast Jesse Eisenberg as Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Batman’s trusty butler Alfred. Prepare for the comment section to explode like Metropolis in Man of Steel in 3…2…1…

Here’s the official press release:

BURBANK, CA, January 31, 2014 – Warner Bros. Pictures announced today that Jesse Eisenberg has been set to star as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons will play Alfred in the upcoming Zack Snyder untitled Superman/Batman film. The dual announcement was made today by Greg Silverman, President, Creative Development and Worldwide Production, and Sue Kroll, President, Worldwide Marketing and International Distribution, Warner Bros. Pictures.

Snyder stated, “Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940. What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

The director added, “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Snyder’s film stars Henry Cavill, reprising his role as Superman/Clark Kent, Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. The film also reunites “Man of Steel” stars Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Diane Lane.

The new film is currently being written by Chris Terrio, from a screenplay by David S. Goyer. Charles Roven and Deborah Snyder are producing, with Benjamin Melniker, Michael E. Uslan, Wesley Coller, David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns serving as executive producers.

The film is set to open worldwide on May 6, 2016, and is based on Superman characters created by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster, Batman characters created by Bob Kane, and Wonder Woman created by William Moulton Marston, appearing in comic books published by DC Entertainment.

The announcement of both Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman sent fans into a tizzy, prompting some overzealous types to sign petitions to have them removed from the iconic roles, so one wonders how this news will be taken. As much fun as I’ve had doing Michael Caine impressions over the last several years, Jeremy Irons seems like he’ll make a fine Alfred, perhaps showing an edge to Batman’s trusted valet that hasn’t been seen in past iterations. As for Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, I’ll admit that I was surprised; not because I can’t picture as a younger Lex Luthor — I totally can — but because I genuinely thought they would be going for a slightly older actor for the alopecia-afflicted villain. That being said, imagining Lex Luthor as Mark Zuckerberg with kryptonite sounds pretty excellent, especially for a modern interpretation of the megalomaniacal Man of Steel menace.

What do you think of the casting news? Let us know in the comments below or tell me on Twitter.

For more on the casting announcement check out the latest Nerdist News with Jessica Chobot: