Actor Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Superman archenemy Lex Luthor in the Man of Steel sequel.
Bryan Cranston, Mark Strong and Joaquin Phoenix had previously been reported to be in the running for the villainous role, but director Zack Snyder has surprised fans by announcing The Social Network star has nabbed the coveted part.
A statement from Snyder reads, “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.”
Meanwhile, Jeremy Irons has also joined the all-star line-up – he is set to play Batman’s butler and mentor Alfred, a character most recently portrayed on the big screen by Sir Michael Caine in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight trilogy.
Snyder adds, “(This character 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 facade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne (whose alter ego is Batman).”
Henry Cavill will reprise his role as Superman in the sequel, while Ben Affleck has signed on to play Batman and Fast & Furious actress Gal Gadot will portray Wonder Woman. The highly-anticipated blockbuster is set to hit theatres in 2016.