Jesse Eisenberg: Batman v Superman's Lex Luthor Won't Be a 'Silly, Villainous Character'
Batman v Superman, like all DC comic book films of late, is distinguishing from Marvel by placing itself squarely in the "dark" and "serious" camp. Recent statements from Jesse Eisenberg seem to confirm that the tone will be more in keeping with the Dark Knight trilogy than Superman: The Movie, as he told MTV that his character would be "psychologically accurate" rather than a "silly, villainous character."
"There's an emotional core to the character," Eisenberg told MTV. "It's not a silly villainous character."
Previous iterations of Lex Luthor have often portrayed him as a typical scheming villain, motivated by greed and an irrational hatred for Superman. Gene Hackman's performance in Superman: The Movie was well-received, but it was undeniably campy and one-dimensional. Eisenberg specifically contrasted his Lex from Hackman's, commenting on the ways in which our expectations for superhero movies have changed in general:
"It's an entirely different thing. Also, the tone of that ['Superman'] movie is so different, like that movie wouldn't be made now. Like the way we expect movies to be now is to have some kind of - I mean, it's probably for the best - there's some kind of more psychological accuracy. That the person is coming from a place probably diagnosable in some way... This is real, this is a depiction of a person who thinks these things."
For the most part, he seems to just be commenting on the quality of the writing. Yesterday, he sung the praises of the character work done by Batman v Superman writer Chris Terrio while confirming his Comic Con appearance, and now he's elaborating on the development for his character specifically. It would be a breath of fresh air if Lex were truly a three-dimensional, well-realized character, as superhero movies tend to sink or swim on the quality of their villains. That's what made The Dark Knight so iconic, and while Marvel has managed to keep critics and fans happy so far with very thinly drawn villains, the grumbling finally started to catch up with them with Avengers: Age of Ultron and will likely hurt them if their villains don't improve.
It might have just been a throwaway comment, but it was interesting to hear Eisenberg call Lex "diagnosable." He could just mean that he's a sociopath, as most supervillains likely would be in real life, but it would be a different take on the character if he suffered some other type of mental illness that was "psychologically accurate," such as autism.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out in theaters on March 25, 2016.