Sleepy Hollow viewers might know Clancy Brown as Sheriff August Corbin, but he’ll always hold a special place in comic fans’ hearts for his long-running animated portrayal of Lex Luthor. While talking to Comic Book Resources about his upcoming superhero film Sparks, the actor looked back on the character he voiced in projects ranging from Superman: The Animated Series to Justice League Unlimited to LEGO Batman: The Movie – DC Super Heroes Unite.
“He just translates so well through the years,” Brown said. “He fits really well in the ’50s and he fits really well in the ’60s — he’s just an American icon, I think, in the same way that Superman is an American icon. But they’re different sides of the same coin. As our society evolves, the characters evolve.”
Part of that evolution, of course, is Luthor’s involvement in the upcoming sequel to Man of Steel. The Internet may have freaked out last month when The Social Network star Jesse Eiseberg was cast in the role, but Brown said he’s excited to see what the actor has to offer.
“I’m dying to see the new one,” he said. “I think Jesse Eisenberg is a great choice. I think he’s a really sharp choice, and I know a lot of people don’t agree with that, but I think he could be spectacular. I liked [Michael] Rosenbaum’s take on it, but that was kind of a WB show. But I just love the idea that the Facebook guy is Lex Luthor. That’s just perfect.”
Asked why he thought Eisenberg is a good choice, Brown noted he differs from Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey in that he’s not a chameleon actor. “He has a similar smugness the way that Spacey does — that highly intelligent, super-smug, almost effeminate kind of smugness about him — but he’s way more current,” he explained. “I just watched Now You See Me, which I thought he was terrific in. He has a really specific persona engrained that is super-smart. You don’t necessarily like him, but you don’t dislike him. You don’t necessarily think he’s a good, fun guy — you see him as a real quirky, weird dude. You don’t completely trust him, although he’s kind of adorable in his nerdy way
“I think Lex has that,” he continued. “Lex is attractive in all the things that shouldn’t be attractive — or aren’t traditionally attractive in comic books — his intelligence and his ambition and his ego and all the rest of that. Jesse carries that really well. Plus, I hear he’s a really nice guy, which helps. It’s why I think it shines through, why his attractiveness shines through, because deep down he’s a good guy. But he also has this kind of intellectual persona that’s unsettling. It’s almost reptilian, which is something I think Lex carries with him.”
Opening May 6, 2016, director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel sequel also stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth.