‘Man of Steel’ Sequel Casts Eisenberg, Irons

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Jesse Eisenberg has been cast as Lex Luthor and Jeremy Irons as Alfred the butler in Warner Bros.’ upcoming Superman-Batman feature.

The pair joins returning Man of Steel cast members Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White and Diane Lane as Martha Kent. Other newcomers include Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.

Also returning are David S. Goyer as screenwriter and Zack Snyder as director.

Eisenberg, an Oscar nominee for his role in The Social Network, takes on the role of Superman’s fiercest enemy; previously played in the Richard Donner versions of Superman by Gene Hackman and by Kevin Spacey in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. Luthor first appeared in 1940′s Action Comics #23 as a highly ambitious and power-hungry business executive with immense technological resources.

“Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman’s rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940,” Snyder said. “What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

Irons, a Best Actor Oscar winner for 1991′s Reversal of Fortune, will play the role of confidant to Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Batman. The role was played in previous Batman films by Michael Caine and Michael Gough.

“As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure,” Snyder said. “He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious facade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Fan reaction has been rather mixed to the announcements, with the choice of Eisenberg drawing the most intense scrutiny.

The film is due out May 6, 2016.

(from left) Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons

(from left) Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons