Have you wrapped your brain around Jesse Eisenberg’s casting as Lex Luthor in the “Man of Steel” sequel yet? I’m still wrestling with it, myself — especially in light of a new report that floats out an entirely different name as someone Warner Bros. considered for Superman’s arch-nemesis.
The Hollywood Reporter broke down the Eisenberg-Luthor decision in a new story this week, identifying a few other actors who were on Warner’s wish-list for the still-untitled “Man of Steel” sequel. “Girls” actor Adam Driver, previously rumored to play Nightwing in the film, was apparently being courted for Luthor instead. Joaquin Phoenix, too, was on the WB’s short-list. Apparently, the oft-rumored Bryan Cranston was never truly considered for the part.
But here’s a name that’s altogether new to the mix: Tom Hanks. THR reports that the “Forrest Gump” and “Philadelphia” Oscar winner “had been discussed internally” for the part of Luthor. He was never approached for the role, according to the report, but it’s interesting enough to hear that Hanks was, at least at one point, a model for what the “Man of Steel” sequel team wanted in their Lex.
How did the vision for Luthor change from a 57-year-old, highly accomplished, two-time Academy Award winner to the 30-year-old Eisenberg? Perhaps we’ll never know. But in an alternate universe, Lex Luthor is doing this scene all over again, albeit with his best Hanksian scream. It’s a universe I’d like to live in.