Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons Cast as Lex Luthor, Alfred in Ben Affleck's Superman/Batman Movie

Entertainment Jan. 31, 2014 AT 1:30PM
Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons have been cast as Lex Luthor and Alfred, respectively, in the upcoming Superman/Batman movie starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck Credit: Mat Hayward/Getty; Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic

Evil has a name, and it's Jesse Eisenberg. The Social Network star, 30, has been tapped to play Superman's archenemy Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's much-anticipated Superman/Batman movie, starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck in the title roles, Warner Bros. Pictures announced Friday, Jan. 31. Also joining the A-list cast? Oscar winner Jeremy Irons, who'll play Bruce Wayne's trusted valet Alfred Pennyworth.

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"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman's rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," director Snyder said in a press release about the casting. "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."

He continued: "Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions." (Other stars who've played Lex Luthor include Gene Hackman, Kevin Spacey, John Shea, and Michael Rosenbaum.)

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As for Batman's butler and confidant Alfred? "As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne's most trusted friend, ally, and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure," the filmmaker explained. "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," Snyder added of the 65-year-old veteran actor, who won an Oscar for Reversal of Fortune and was nominated for a 2014 SAG Award for The Hollow Crown. (Alfred has previously been played by Michael Gough, Alan Napier, and, most recently, Michael Caine.)

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Eisenberg and Irons join an already star-studded cast that includes, in addition to Cavill and Affleck, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, Diane Lane, and Gal Gadot, who will take on the role of Wonder Woman. The movie is set to open on May 6, 2016.

Tell Us: What do you think of the casting news?

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