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Feature
Who Should Play Lex Luthor? And Which Lex Luthor Should They Play?
We look at contenders for the role, and the comic-book incarnations of the Superman baddie

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Mad Scientist Lex

Lex Luther Mad Scientist

The first outing of Lex Luthor in the comics saw him as a classic mad scientist, living in a flying city hung from a dirigible and taking control of European countries to set them at one another’s throats – this in 1940, as if they needed help with that. But he also had death rays at his disposal, and soon he was merrily recreating dinosaurs – take that, John Hammond! – and planning to drain all the world’s oil wells.

We quite like the notion of a batshit crazy super-genius Luthor, but it probably doesn’t fit with the established Man Of Steel aesthetic. A better work-around would be to emphasise the “scientist” in “mad scientist” and have an expert in, say, robotics (as Luthor is often portrayed) pit his creations against the Man Of Steel to prove their superiority, getting homicidally irate if and when they fail to do so. But it’s a fine line to walk.

We’d cast: Bryan Cranston is the most obvious choice here: we know he can play a (breaking) bad scientist already. Another TV-inspired option might be Michael C. Hall – we know that the Dexter star can do twisted but charismatic, and he’s at home in a lab. But we’d go for Jason Clarke, who gives good bad guy but needs a chance to play something other than a heavy.
 

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Your Comments

1 I Dunno
Many people could play lex Luthor, it really doesn't matter, I wouldn't be surpised who will play him. If the actor is in his forties or older. More

Posted by Darren47 on Saturday October 12, 2013, 12:31

2 Heston Blumenthal
How about Moby? Just kidding but seriously Tim Olyphant might be good! More

Posted by Andybee76 on Thursday July 18, 2013, 11:02

3 Mark strong or Michael fassbender for Luthor
Mark strong or michael fassbender i think these two are awesome in everything they do and i think they would make perfect luthors. Having said that in my opinion lex luthor should be a secondary villian not the main one because as a villain he doesnt really give the opportunity to use his powers proper as in MOS. I would have luthor as the one pulling the strings but another main villain like darkseid, metallo or Brainiac More

Posted by joshsym on Monday July 15, 2013, 19:29

4 Red Son version
The Red Son interpretation of Lex is probably the best version and seeing as we will never see him in action in an adaption of the book they should try and get him into Man of steel 2. But maybe not as the big bad but a second row character we can then see him evolve from a young ginger version to the bald mad scientist in the third who can not face the competition of Superman any more. The guy to pulls this of should be someone who gives the impression of great intelligence and two actors that can do this very well our Benedict Cumberbatch and Matt Smith. We have already seen Cumberbatch be a villain in Star Trek and I would love to see Smith sink his teeth into the bad guy material More

Posted by CambiMan on Sunday July 14, 2013, 21:51

5 Pennywise himself!
Tim Curry, he has a great history of bad asses. More

Posted by Klaudio2010 on Thursday July 11, 2013, 01:57

6 Pennywise himself!
Tim Curry, he has a great history of bad asses. More

Posted by Klaudio2010 on Thursday July 11, 2013, 01:13

7 Superstar in the part!!!!
This is way out there but how about either Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson. A superstar in the part to add weight. More

Posted by Porus on Tuesday July 9, 2013, 12:09

8 Superstar in the part!!!!
This is way out there but how about either Bruce Willis or Mel Gibson. A superstar in the part to add weight. More

Posted by Porus on Tuesday July 9, 2013, 12:09

9 What they should really do...
I think what Snyder and co should really do is set up Lex as a secondary character in the second film, leaving primary villain duties to someone like Brainiac. Not necessarily evil, but a Tony Stark-esque likeable scientist/philanthropist/billionaire perhaps. This would allow for greater character exploration and depth as we see Lex's gradual demise into the pillar of evil we know he will become in the climatic third (and presumably final, if Nolan's Batman trilogy is anything to go by) film. More

Posted by Sharky J Mansour on Tuesday July 9, 2013, 04:12

10 I was gonna say Jared Harris & Cumberbatch...
...would be good choices. Jinxsies! Quality choices. More

Posted by Porter on Monday July 8, 2013, 18:32

11
Anybody who mentions Billy Zane needs to be shot! The guy is shit. Period. He's the same as having Nic Cage as Superman. Bad. And a sequel would fail as a result. Firstly we need someone who can act, so my choices would be Jared Harris or Benedict Cumberbatch. They both ooze charm, with underlying threat & can turn nasty in a heartbeat. And they've both proven that they can pay superb villains. A movie is only as good as it's villain so if Zane were cast it'd be a no better than Die Hard 5! More

Posted by Tenacious P on Monday July 8, 2013, 15:11

12 Corey Stoll
He was brilliant in House of Cards and despite the fact he has the 'look' I think he really has it in him to play a real nasty piece of work and an excellent villain More

Posted by willchadwick on Monday July 8, 2013, 13:32

13 I get the obvious reasons why Denzel...
...is a left-field choice for Luthor, but that's what's so great about these new movies. You take the convention and twist it without breaking. I don't want to see the same old choices - I want something fresh. Denzel's got the chops for this role and, if it was me, I'd let him keep his hair too. More

Posted by Porter on Monday July 8, 2013, 13:25

14 Michael Chiklis
Michael Chiklis. Plays a great mobster in Vegas (which rocks) and I think would be the ideal guy. Has been in superhero flicks before as the thing in fantastic four so will be comfortable with special effects etc More

Posted by makeminemedia on Monday July 8, 2013, 12:59

15 Congressman Peter Russo
I read someone suggest Corey Stoll somewhere and can't get that image out of my head. He'd be ideal in my opinion. More

Posted by presidentcletus on Monday July 8, 2013, 09:23

16 Going with an unknown
If we were going with an unknown (well, a relative unknown), you know who I like? I like Gabriel Macht of Suits. I want Luthor to be an evil version of Bruce Wayne. Confident, smart, gets away with stuff, very sure of himself. And sneaky enough to never get caught with anything linked to him. The world has a very positive image of him but never knows he uses his powers only for himself. In many ways he's everything Superman is not. More

Posted by leocastillo on Monday July 8, 2013, 04:04

17 Washington?
There's a pretty obvious flaw in the Denzal Washington idea... Just saying! More

Posted by mancalledpete on Sunday July 7, 2013, 22:04

18 What about President of United States Lex ?
I would like to see Michael Keaton in the role, but I love the idea of Denzal Washington also. Jude Law is possibly the worst suggestion I've heard. More

Posted by danielthompson99 on Saturday July 6, 2013, 12:35

19 I'm a big fan of Stanley Tucci...
... and would love to see him play Lex Luthor. He was brilliant as Richard Cross in the first series of Murder One playing a rich business man-type villain. I wouldn't argue with anyone wanting Bryan Cranston either, although his character would need to be given more depth than the bad guy he played in Total Recall remake (Total Remake?) More

Posted by chrispdaniel on Saturday July 6, 2013, 00:46

20 Matthew McConaughy
that is all. More

Posted by osh man on Friday July 5, 2013, 23:15

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