Anghus Houvouras on why Christoph Waltz should play Lex Luthor….
With Batman vs. Superman being pushed back to 2016, there’s been something a vacuum in terms of news regarding the much anticipated pairing. We’ve heard about Gal Gadot joining the cast as Wonder Woman, and we’ve gotten some details on the new costumer Ben Affleck will be wearing, but we still haven’t heard the most important detail:
Who’s going to play Lex Luthor?
There has been conversations and rumblings since the movie was first announced. Superman’s arch-nemesis is a character that has decades of history in the comics and many iterations. Originally Luthor was a mad scientist. A great, malevolent mind who sought to use his intellect to defeat the Man of Steel. Over time, this version of the character was transformed into a more lethal businessman who seemed more akin to Marvel’s Kingpin than the crazed scientist that first appeared i the pages of Action Comics.
In film, we’ve never really gotten the more classic version of the villain. The Richard Donner version of Luthor was smart, conniving, and bordered on the comical. Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns took the same basic character model and replaced ‘comical’ with ‘sinister’.
We’ve yet to get an impressive big screen version of the character. To date, the most memorable Lex Luthor we’ve gotten has been courtesy of small screen performance like Michael Rosenbaum on Smallville. Batman vs. Superman seems to be poised to deliver us a new take on one of comics’ most iconic villains.
Most of the internet buzz seems to be hovering around Bryan Cranston. It’s one of those choices that feels equal parts plausible and potentially nothing more than the excited ramblings of internet fanboys. As Walter White, Cranston effectively portrayed the kind of psychotic sickness that Luthor has exhibited in modern comics. Personally, I’m not a fan of the choice (or similar choices like Mark Strong) because it follows that more modern Lex Luthor model: the evil businessman who walks around in a suit and tie focused on his public perception and persona. John Byrne’s Man of Steel reduced Lex Luthor from super science genius into a tepid Kingpin clone. The only difference between the modern era Lex Luthor and Wilson Fisk is mass.
I’m hoping we get to see the real Lex Luthor. The scientific genius we saw displayed in stories like Grant Morrison’s superior All Star Superman. A take on the character that gives us the sinister intentions and evil obsessions but allows the character to be a scientific super villain. I started thinking ‘who could play this classic version of the villain’. Then i watched the Zero Therom trailer at it hit me…
Christoph Waltz should play Lex Luthor.
That’s ‘two time Academy Award winner Christoph Waltz’, who seems perfectly suited to play the role of a super villain. There’s a kind of calculating intensity that he displayed in movies like Inglorious Basterds that seems perfectly suited for Lex Luthor. The kind of Lex Luthor that uses his super intellect to create giant robots and doomsday devices. The kind of Lex Luthor that engineers plans to take down the world’s most powerful hero and will raze cities to make it happen. I’m not sure if we’re ever going to get a Lex Luthor who dons a super powered battle-suit to take down Superman. The old school Lex Luthor. But if we are, there may be no one better than Christoph Waltz for the role.
Is it just me?
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker. His latest work, the novel My Career Suicide Note, is available from Amazon.