Jesse Eisenberg talks BATMAN V SUPERMAN's Lex Luthor: Not a "silly, villainous character"

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So you may have heard the news that Marvel, Sony and Paramount are all skipping Comic-Con this year. With those big guns out of the way, it means that this the perfect time for Warner Bros to completely own the vaunted Hall H by properly showing off their DC Comics movie lineup. Starting of course with Batman v Superman: Pass the Mustard*, which only got the teasiest of teaser trailers at last year’s show and not much else.

Speaking to Collider, Jesse Eisenberg – who plays Lex Luthor in BvS – has now confirmed that he, and presumably the rest of the main cast, will be at the biggest geek convention of the year, showing off their much anticipated movie. But there’s no reason to wait until next month to get the inside track on this new iteration of Luthor, as Eisenberg has also spoken to MTV and told them that we shouldn’t really be trying to predict which well-known version of the character Eisenberg will be playing; this is his own version.

“The expectations that I have are never the same expectations that an audience has,” Eisenberg said. “I don’t have expectations for myself to adhere to a comic book character, but a lot of people are interested in how I would coincide with the comic book character. But it couldn’t be farther from my mind, because I’m just playing a role…”

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A role that has previously only been played on the big screen by two other men: Gene Hackman in the original Richard Donner Superman films, and Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. However, Spacey was essentially just doing a Hackman impersonation (much to my dismay), as he was the same slightly goofy, real-estate scheme obsessed cartoonish villain. Don’t expect that from Eisenberg’s Luthor.

“No, that’s an entirely different thing. Also the tone of that movie is so different, that movie wouldn’t be made that way now. The way we expect movies to be now, which is for the best probably, we expect there to be some kind of psychological accuracy. That the person is coming from a place that’s probably diagnosable in some ways. This is not [a winking, knowing movie], this is a real depiction of a person who thinks these things.”

“It’s a really great character that’s written by this guy, Chris Terrio, he’s a phenomenal writer… He loves my character in the same way I love my character. He put a lot of work into it. It’s a great character, there’s an emotional core to the character. It’s not this silly, villainous character. This is a real depiction of a person who thinks these things. So the challenge is to make it seem real.”

Chris Terrio is of course the Oscar-winning screenwriter for Ben Affleck’s Argo, who Affleck probably brought on-board the project when he signed on to play Batman. Terrio reworked David S. Goyer’s initial script for the film, and based on what Eisenberg told Collider, the changes he has made are significant.

“I like what this writer does, this guy Chris Terrio. He wrote this movie we did and I just think he’s so great. He’s such a good writer. I like what he does with characters, I like what he does with wordplay and cleverness. I like anything he writes.”

“Wordplay and cleverness”? Well, that would certainly be a step-up from Goyer’s punchy no-brainer script for Man of Steel, so colour me greatly intrigued. It’s also the approach that would play best to Eisenberg’s motormouth, though I’m not too sure how well that would translate to the character. In fact, I’m not 100% on-board the Eisenberg-Luthor train yet. Sure, he looks the part way better than I ever thought he would, but I need to see some footage of him doing his thing.

Read  Here’s what we liked (and didn’t like) about Comic Con Africa

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I know that Eisenberg has said that we shouldn’t have any pre-conceived expectations for the character, but I can’t help but feel that that my favourite incarnation of the character – the post-John Byrne “Man of Steel” era ruthless businessman Luthor, never done better than by Clancy Brown in the classic Superman: The Animated Series – would be so perfectly suited to the tone that feel that director Zack Snyder has gone with for this universe. If Eisenberg ends up doing something evenly remotely like that, then you can consider me a believer.

You can watch the full MTV interview video below:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice also stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Jena Malone, Holly Hunter and Scoot McNairy. It is scheduled for release on March 25, 2016.

*Not the real title

Last Updated: June 22, 2015

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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