Out of all movie news of late none have been more surprising than the items circulating about the upcoming Batman/Superman team up picture. Between the recent 10 month delay in release date and this casting news, it would not be surprising if Warner Bros. released the first picture of Ben Affleck in full Bat getup on April Fool’s Day, much to the chagrin to a no doubt baffled, angry and amused internet.
It has almost been a given since the announcement of the picture that Superman's arch nemesis and iconic DC Universe bad- Lex Luthor was going to be in the film in some capacity. With that speculation a lot of names have been thrown around from Mark Strong to Bryan Cranston, the latter of which was strongly rumored to grab the iconic role, a couple of months back.
Jesse Eisenberg is a choice that is unconventional for a lot of reasons. The first of which is that he does not really immediately give you that iconic image of Lex, the large, bald figure whose eyes and mind you can see working in nefarious ways. I actually think this is purposeful on the part of Zack Snyder, whose choice for the big bad in Watchmen was quite unusual especially when compared to his comic book counterpart. In casting Eisenberg, I feel that Snyder is breaking the mold by going against the usual conception of Lex, a fact that he alluded to in the press release when he said- “Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”
At the same time, I think that Snyder is casting Luthor with the modern conception of a business tycoon in mind, which are people as young as Mark Zuckerberg and Jordan Belfort and don't necessarily evoke a physically imposing figure, but are nevertheless quite powerful in their own right.
Eisenberg`s Lex, I can imagine is someone who works behind the scenes and casts a powerful image through his connections and sharp mind. I think we have to keep this image in our mind because it is something modern that can play to the best qualities of the comic book character and effectively dispel the naysayers who will immediately think the casting does not work for superficial reasons.
Moving onto Alfred, its was almost anyone`s guess as to who was playing Bruce Wayne's loyal butler and surrogate father. With Jeremy Irons being cast in the part, it immediately clicked for me in a really profound way. The first phrase when thinking of Irons is stern and efficient task master.
This came to me especially with the information we already know of Affleck`s Batman, who is a seasoned veteran and will be a sort of mentor role when thinking of his relationship with the Man of Steel. I can imagine that Irons will bring a great sense of authority to Alfred, he will be tough and forthright with Bruce, especially at this point in his career as Batman. This is opposed to someone who stands on the sidelines and has the occasional jokey exchange with Bruce. As for my remark about being an efficient task master, I feel almost that one of the more underrated character traits of Alfred is that he practically runs the household of Wayne Manor and does it all with an efficiency that is quite mind numbing at times. I feel this characteristic will be at the forefront of Iron`s interpretation of Alfred, especially given that this is going to be an older and wiser Caped Crusader.
Overall, I am quite happy with this casting news for the upcoming team up movie. Snyder once again has surprised us with one of the choices but I trust his judgment. In the past, despite the quality of his films, the casting for them has always been intelligent and well reasoned, an ability which I don't feel he has lost.
Posted by Sartaj Singh