Warning: spoilers ahead if you haven’t seen “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Like much of the reaction to “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor has been met with mixed feelings. Some love his portrayal of a young version of the villain, while others felt his rapid-fire speak and nervous mannerisms were a bit too much for the role.
It was a gutsy move by director Zack Snyder, which came to him after meeting Eisenberg for another role, the brief cameo in the movie of Daily Planet photographer-turned-CIA agent Jimmy Olsen, a favourite from the comics.
“Zack came to me, and I didn’t know the character he wanted me to play. He just described something very vague,” Eisenberg told Business Insider on Monday while talking about his upcoming independent film “Louder Than Bombs” (opening April 8). “Zack is a more visual guy, so his explanation included a lot of things I don’t excel at, including camera movements and effects. But what I left from it was I didn’t think I could do a good job in that role.”
The Jimmy Olsen character, who briefly appears in the beginning of the movie when Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is in the Middle East to interview a terrorist, is killed when it’s revealed that he’s a CIA agent.
Snyder told Entertainment Weekly that originally he wanted a known actor like Eisenberg to play the role, for the added shock value. But when Eisenberg turned down the opportunity, Snyder went with a lesser-known actor, Michael Cassidy, and it’s never mentioned in the film’s dialogue that the character is Olsen (the only reference is in the end credits).
But “Batman v Superman” wasn’t done with Eisenberg. Months after turning down the role, the actor said he came on the radar of the film’s coscreenwriter Chris Terrio, who was doing rewrites, while Eisenberg was in an Off-Broadways play.
“Chris had seen me in ‘The Revisionist‘ and the character I play can be seen as despicable, and he liked me in that,” Eisenberg said.
Soon after, Eisenberg was given the “Batman v Superman” script with an offer for him to play the infamous villain Luthor.
“I was thrilled,” he said of being considered. “As soon as I read it, I felt excited by it.”
“Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” is currently in theatres.
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