Jesse Eisenberg talks about his ‘unconventional’ Lex Luther in Batman vs Superman

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batman-v-superman-lex-luthor-jesse-eisenberg3During the New York premiere of Batman V. Superman, he said “I didn’t grow up reading comic books.” Though he is quick to point out, “but when I read the script, I thought they very clearly put these iconic characters into the real world so for people like me who didn’t grow up reading it [comics] you don’t need that background, [but] it’s still very exciting.” Eisenberg adds that it’s the originality and authenticity of this version of Lex Luther that led him to take on the role.

“In the comic books, [he] can appear campy or silly or just scary or something, but what Chris Terrio, the writer of this script, did so wonderfully is to try to create a person who is psychologically authentic, somebody who is actually troubled, someone who is actually suffering, somebody who is insecure and rageful, and all these things that you are not used to seeing in a villain.”

Eisenberg also confesses it was not easy to portray the character this way. “You know he’s charming, and also terrifying, eccentric and very smart. He is almost all these very interesting, and almost in conflict, characteristics that I [had] to bring together,” he says. Still, Eisenberg seems to fundamentally grasp what motivates this real world Luther by explaining, “In the movie my character looks at the destruction that Superman causes and thinks that this guy should not be able to roam free. My character thinks of Superman as a nuclear weapon on the loose and he needs to be destroyed.” He even admits his character’s cordial relationship to the Cape Crusader.

“We [Batman and I] have a common enemy [Superman]…so I try to enlist Batman to help me destroy Superman. So in a way, Batman and I are allies. Not friends, but allies.”

As to why he likes being a villain, Eisenberg says, “I like being able to do things in a safe context that in real life would get me locked up.” Jokingly he adds, “You know like punch Ben Affleck or torture Henry Cavill. These are wonderful people who should not be hurt, but in the safe context of a movie in our role it was very interesting.”