Dream Casting — Who Could Play Lex Luthor?

Breaking Bad, Walter, Bryan Cranston
Frank Ockenfels/AMC

Casting rumors have swirled ever since Ben Affleck was cast as the Dark Knight in the announced Batman vs. Superman movie. While it’s obvious which superheroes will make an appearance in the movie, there’s still no word about who the titanic heroes will battle in this hopefully epic blockbuster. But who would be better than Superman’s arch-nemesis, Lex Luthor, to challenge both the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel in his glorious return to the silver screen?

Before Warner Bros. kills the fun and announces whom they picked as Luthor (assuming he will appear in Batman vs. Superman), let’s indulge our inner fanboy and pick our own dream castings.

Bryan Cranston

The internet’s been ablaze about Bryan Cranston being cast as Lex Luthor (an impressive fan trailer for Man of Steel 2 makes a strong case for both Cranston and Affleck). Who can blame the comic fanboys, especially when Cranston shows the evil behind his eyes in Breaking Bad. He even looks good bald too. Cranston could be a bit too old for the part though, and it’s in question whether he’ll want to play a similar role by taking on Lex Luthor so soon after the finale of Breaking Bad.

Jason Isaacs

Zack Snyder cast a British actor when he chose Henry Cavill to play Superman. So why not look across the pond again to play his arch-nemesis?  One British candidate would be Jason Isaacs, whom you may know as Lucius Malfoy from the Harry Potter movies, so moviegoers have already seen him capably play a movie villain. But for fanboys who insist that the movie characters stick as close to their comic book counterparts, don’t worry: Isaacs looks even more villainous with a shaved head.

Bradley Cooper

Bradley Cooper

This casting would probably be as divisive as Ben Affleck. Some would say Bradley Cooper is too young or doesn’t have the talent to play Lex Luthor. First, as Matt Damon would say, Lex Luthor is not King Lear and should be a fairly easy role for the Academy Award-nominated actor. And remember the uproar that erupted when Christopher Nolan chose Heath Ledger to play the Joker. Cooper could infuse a much needed new spin on Lex Luthor. But for a villain who has evaded both the authorities and Superman for years, Cooper is an excellent choice to play a man with sinister intentions underlying all that infinite charm and innocence.

Mark Strong

When it comes to physical resemblance to Lex Luthor, it’s tough beat out English actor Mark Strong. But beyond his facial physicality, Strong has shown he can be the perfect villainous foil to an iconic character. He played  Lord Blackwood in 2009’s Sherlock Holmes, a man who was capable of fabricating an elaborate scheme to rule England by pulling all the right strings. Just substitute England for the world, and that could’ve been Lex Luthor right there!

Idris Elba

Zack Snyder cast Laurence Fishburne as the Daily Planet’s Editor-in-Chief Perry White and turned Jimmy Olsen to Jenny Olsen. So would he be open to casting outside the racial box for Lex Luthor? If he were, Idris Elba would be a prime candidate for the iconic villain. Anyone who watched him as Stringer Bell in HBO’s The Wire could certainly see him as a CEO businessman by day, kingpin of an underground criminal organization by night.

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