1. Stephen Moyer
Stephen Moyer is best known as vampire Bill Compton on HBO’s popular True Blood. Yes, he’s British but he’s a classically trained actor with the acting chops to give Lex Luthor some credibility as a brilliant, menacing, and calculating foe. He would have to add some beef to his frame to be more intimidating and a haircut to have the legendary bald head but all you have to do is look at the piercing glance to know that he’s up to no good.
2. Michael C. Hall
The oft-nominated Emmy contender, Michael C. Hall, has made the vigilante serial killer ‘Dexter’ on Showtime an iconic pop culture figure. The clever and grisly drama has made Hall a star and could give the role of Lex Luthor an edge unlike others before him. Playing a conniving and methodical killer could serve him well. With a bald head and some added muscle, Hall could make the megalomaniac billionaire industrialist/scientist/businessman/politician a worthy opponent to Superman on screen.
3. Idris Elba
Idris Elba has been one of the busiest actors in show business. It is a testament to his talent and versatility that he’s been able to transcend genres in the United States and his native London. Fresh from his role in the newly released Pacific Rim he has multiple projects lined up, including reprising his titular role in the British television crime drama Luther as well as playing Heimdall again in the Thor sequel, Elba is no stranger to the sci-fi and comic book movie genre. The transition to the leading villain in the Man of Steel sequel, should they go with Lex Luthor, would not be a difficult one.
As the calculating and cutthroat druglord “Stringer” Bell in the much-celebrated HBO miniseries, The Wire, Elba demonstrated a cool yet ferocious demeanor that captivated audiences and helped make it one of the most revered television events ever. He could do the same as Lex Luthor.
Yes, I know we’re entering fanboy rage territory by changing the race of the character. If there is one thing fanboys love is continuity and god-forbid studios change something. There was obnoxious, probably racially charged as well, comments on internet forums when Elba was cast as the Norse god Heimdall in the first Thor. Laurence Fishburne also got his share of online chatter when he was cast as Perry White in Man of Steel. The goal should be when casting a role to hire the most capable actor who can embody the character regardless of race. I think Elba has proven to be more than adept at elevating the material of any project he is in and making it his own. This would be no different.
4. Patrick Wilson
Patrick Wilson, hot off the box-office surprise horror flick ‘The Conjuring’, is a versatile actor who is probably best recognized for playing the affable good guy (Morning Glory, Young Adult, Lakeview Terrace). Although, a steady working actor, Wilson isn’t necessarily a household name yet. Now with the Man of Steel sequel confirmed at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con with Batman entering the franchise as a possible adversary this could leave room for Lex Luthor to not have to be a “big” name. If Lex is indeed involved in the sequel, which I have to believe he is, then Wilson would not be a bad choice.
Wilson has the added advantage of working with director Zack Snyder before on ‘Watchmen’ where he played Nite Owl. I’m sure the experience of working on a major comic book movie, albeit a polarizing one, would only bolster his chances.
5. Mark Strong
The latest casting rumors for Lex Luthor in the planned Man of Steel sequel had ‘Breaking Bad’s Bryan Cranston getting a lot of attention and rightly so. Cranston has created an iconic television character playing Walter White who has gone from “Mr. Chips to Scarface” over the last 5 seasons while collecting Emmys along the way. However, it is very difficult to overlook another actor who has done exceptional character work as antagonists in ‘Kick-Ass’, ‘Green Lantern’, and ‘John Carter’. Mark Strong’s name is still in the mix because he has the look, the menacing demeanor, and versatility to charm or frighten.
I hesitated to add him to the list because it was so easy to typecast him as another villain but he does it so well. While he has performed great in those movies, the movies themselves have underperformed. Here is a chance for audiences to discover Strong in what is sure to be a global blockbuster as one of the most famous villains of all time.