EDITORIAL: The Case Against Bryan Cranston As Lex Luthor
While the initial fuss has dissipated, the question of BATMAN VS SUPERMAN’s villain and who will play him still looms large in our heads. Analyzing the most popular choice to date, I take issue with Bryan Cranston being potentially cast as Lex Luthor. Hit the jump for more.
If there’s one thing that will send us fanboys into more of a frenzy than an actual casting, it’s the rumor of one. And that’s just what has happened concerning World’s Finest or Batman vs Superman or whatever they end up calling it. Bryan Cranston is playing Lex Luthor... allegedly. There’s been a lot of positive reception to this
news speculation but the purpose of this editorial to outline why Bryan Cranston is not the right actor to play Lex Luthor.
For one, he’s too old. It’s a simple point, but it’s also the most salient. The Donner and (though it’s best to forget it) Singer films gave us a Luthor who was ages older than Superman. No one wants to see a re-tread of the exact same Superman vs. Luthor shtick, this movie needs to separate itself from the Supermen of the past. The wisest choice would be to stay away from making Lex the old timer who likes buying real estate and flesh out a fresh version of the character.
Luthor’s driving force is a mixture of jealousy and paranoia towards Superman, and those feelings play a lot better when we’re talking about two people in the same age range. Of course the old bald guy is going to be jealous of the good-looking young man! But the young, successful, handsome businessman? The envy he feels presents a much more compelling story. All of which puts an ideal Luthor at around 40 years old, old enough to believe as an established CEO, and young enough to have a fresh dynamic with Superman, which would also fall perfectly in line with the age of Batfleck. Though he can’t help it, Bryan Cranston is 57, that’s 27 years older than Henry Cavill, which is simply too big and too important a gap to overlook.
Furthermore, there’s the whole issue of Breaking Bad. By that, I mean, we would see an actor, famous for playing a cunning, ruthless, bald villain on TV, play a cunning, ruthless, bald villain on film. Only this time, instead of having five seasons to develop his character, he’ll have two hours. This is not meant to be a knock on Cranston or his acting range. I’m sure he could create a Lex Luthor that does not necessarily resemble Walter White, but get real if you don’t think almost everyone will immediately make that comparison. And it’s a pretty tall order to make him top one of the most epic performances on television, ever. It all just seems like a recipe for disappointment, where he comes across as a half-baked Heisenberg.
One of the main reasons for the speculation regarding Cranston being cast as Luthor stems from the fact that both of them are typically bald, yet Cranston himself said, “The reality is they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him.” This ought to be reminded to all the folks still thinking Billy Zane is the perfect choice because he has no hair. Cranston’s not an ideal candidate simply because he’s bald. And hair, or lack thereof, should hardly be the primary concern when finding an appropriate actor to stand up to two of the greatest superheroes ever.
Lest we forget the other potential options out there, bald and not bald alike. There’s an abundance of more fitting choices, like Jon Hamm, Damian Lewis or Mark Strong. And then there’s my personal favorite: Matthew McConaughey Two years ago, you may have laughed at this, and you still might, but McConaughey is perfect for Luthor. He’s charming, likeable, plays wells with female audiences and has a definite potential for malice and terrifying authority... but that’s for a whole other editorial.
On that note, can we all just agree that Cranston would be better suited as Jim Gordon anyways? He looks the part completely (when he’s not bald) and has already proven he can do the voice in Batman: Year One. Considering that this movie will likely split time with Bats and Supes, it’s not wild to assume that some of Batman’s supporting cast will show up, and that Gordon would be pretty likely to appear. Just because he’s famous for playing a villain, doesn’t mean that he can’t still play a compelling hero too.
This is all moot though, seeing as how we don’t even freaking know that the villain will be Lex Luthor! Maybe, if there’s some justice, we’ll finally get Brainiac on screen instead. Even Metallo could be pretty interesting if handled right. But in the meantime, until they officially do cast someone, we can all continue to wallow in the misery of our own speculation and fervor.
So what do you guys think? Is he right for the role? Is he wrong, but for different reasons? Who do you want to see as the villain? Let me know in the comments.
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