– by Joseph Jammer Medina

The casting of Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor was a controversial one, to say the least. As most interpretations of the character are of a middle-aged man, to swing so far into the opposite direction seemed to fly in the face of any aspect of the comic canon. It didn’t help that Jesse Eisenberg had, as recently as 2010, portrayed another technological wunderkind in the film THE SOCIAL NETWORK.

In a recent interview with Empire, director Zack Snyder said the following in regards to that very subject.

“Just from a pop-cultural viewpoint you can’t pretend the [SOCIAL NETWORK] movie doesn’t exist. Because he has played Mark Zuckerberg, Jesse represents a very contemporary sort of business model. I the sort of post-dotcom world where fortunes can be made from your basement, it is not hard to image Jesse-as-Lex being as powerful as he is.” 

Actor Jesse Eisenberg didn’t seem to agree with his director on this front.

“If there are some surface similarities to another role, an audience will tend to see that. An actor won’t. [For me,] Lex feels like a totally new and unusual person.”

This definitely makes sense from the perspective of someone like Eisenberg. The actor, while best known for his larger pictures, does have a tendency to skew to the more independent side of things. Rarely does he go big with his characters, and with each one, he seems to give a certain amount of nuance and thought. If you haven’t seen the film THE END OF THE TOUR, I recommend you check it out. Both Eisenberg and Jason Segel were able to bring a lot to the table in terms of subtext with their characters, and it really was magical watch. 

I’ve admittedly grown nervous as the film has approached its release. The nuance I am used to seeing in Eisenberg’s characters seemed grossly lacking, though I hope it has more to do with the scenes of the film being out of context, as everything Eisenberg says about the character of Lex Luthor has me beyond interested.

“It was written in a way I would say dovetails with my skills, it was written with a real psychological underpinning, it was written with a kind of humor that I knew I could do. And with a dramatic intensity that I enjoy. […] He uses wordplay and very clever allusions to other stories and myths, but it never compromises what is scary about him. […] [This version of Lex is] full of rage […] [and] He is the guy who won’t sleep to get something done.”

Of course, recent iterations of the character tend to skew away from the dramatically evil. Luthor often has his own reasonable motivations on a grand scale, and at the very least, Eisenberg’s interpretation on paper seems to coincide with that.

“What I think, makes the story relevant is this questioning of the value of this kind of power in the real world. So my character, who has what we would think of as modern financial success, it threatened by this guy who has power in a supernatural way. Superman is an existential threat to my character.”

What do you think of Eisenberg’s comments? Are you able to look past what we’ve seen in the trailer so far and get excited for his performance? Let us know in the comments down below!

SOURCE: Empire (via Comic Book Movie)

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.