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.

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By EdwardNashton - 9/16/2013


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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Batman52 - 9/16/2013, 8:20 PM
Corey Stoll from House of cards could play lex luthor.
GliderMan - 9/16/2013, 8:24 PM
I completely agree.
CaptainAmerica31 - 9/16/2013, 8:27 PM
He is a phenomenal actor, anyone who watches breaking bad knows what I'm talking about. Last nights episode was crazy good, prolly the best episode of TV I've ever seen. But people are just picking him for LL cause he plays a bald character already.
maninfinesuit - 9/16/2013, 8:51 PM
Matthew McConaughey for Luthor.
Tainted87 - 9/16/2013, 9:11 PM
"Too old" is what I hear the most... about everything.

But if you work the other way around, you get Smallville, where Lex is the same age as Clark, and well - what little I saw of it, even with an open mind I couldn't really take Michael Rosenbaum seriously. And it's not because he's Wally West.

But there are many different interpretations of Luthor. Some people think he should be the IDEAL celebrity, more like Bruce Wayne and more of a media darling.
Nowadays, that means you need to be younger.

But even still, Lex should be an experienced businessman who has an ego too big for the planet to bear, and wouldn't hesitate a moment to lecture a complete stranger on what he thinks he or she SHOULD be doing, or how they should be doing it.

All-Star Superman was THE best interpretation of Lex Luthor. I love love LOVE the scene where Clark's interviewing him during the prison break, and how Clark is constantly saving his life - he's too oblivious to all those "close calls" because he's so wrapped up in his rantings.

Lex needs to be older, or at least the same age as Batman, aka Ben Affleck... who really isn't old.

Bryan Cranston isn't too old though. Interestingly enough, I've seen him in just about everything OTHER than Breaking Bad. He's got a great voice, let me tell you.
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I always and always will proclaim the best actor to play Lex is the man who knows him the best.
Clancy Brown


But I'm 99% sure they won't cast him, because they're looking for star power.
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The biggest case against Bryan Cranston, to me, is the reason why I'm not really all that interested in watching Breaking Bad. I'll get around to it eventually, but I just don't care about it. Do you think the studio will cast the actor because fans want them to, or do you think they'd like to do their own thing? $150+ million says they wanna do their own thing.
Lizardking310 - 9/16/2013, 10:16 PM
Matthew McConaughey??? I hope your kidding .. John Hamm maybe
thebearjew - 9/16/2013, 10:22 PM
Tainted if cranston is too old

Then clancy brown is waaaaaaaayyy too old
l0rdleg0las - 9/16/2013, 10:23 PM
TIMOTHY OLYPHANT and end it!
OdinsBeard - 9/16/2013, 10:25 PM
arron paul as the riddler.
thebearjew - 9/16/2013, 10:25 PM
Tainted i used to be like you man i didnt care about breaking bad
Then one day this summer like almost all days this summer i had a lot of free time
Browsing netflix i see breaking bad is suggested for me i go i dont know is it really that good??
MAN ITS INTENSE! I watched all 4 seasons in a few days its like one big movie
Give it a shot man
KnobGoblin - 9/16/2013, 10:31 PM
Typical fanboy logic - "He's bald, Lex Luthor is bald... He was born to play this role!"
PietroMaximoff - 9/16/2013, 10:45 PM
You lost me towards the end. I actually believed you were writing an article because you actually felt he wasn't right for the part. But when I got to the end, I realized that you actually just wanted to write an editorial to bash him as one character because you prefer him as another.

"He can't be Luthor just because he looks like him"
"He should be Gordon because he looks just like him"

Okay.
Wolf38 - 9/16/2013, 10:47 PM
Cranston should totally play Jim Gordon. I am not sure who would be the best Lex. Not really feeling Mark Strong, and I do not think Jon Hamm (who I wanted sooo bad to be Batman) would be the right fit. What about Leonardo DiCaprio?
TheGambitFreakIsBatmanOfCBM - 9/16/2013, 10:47 PM
No we want Cranston as Luthor cause he is [frick]ing formidable on screen. Watch the pitiful Total Recall. He's [frick]ing crazy!