Only days after a rumor of "heightened interest" in Kevin Costner for a key role in Warner Bros.' Superman reboot -- most likely that of Jonathan Kent -- comes word that Viggo Mortensen is being eyed to play the movie's lead villain General Zod.
Heat Vision reports that no talks have begun, and that Mortensen is merely "a person of interest." Although he and Costner aren't the only actors being considered for their respective roles, "they are the ones most seriously talked about."
Long-running speculation that General Zod would be the movie's main villain reignited in October when Zack Snyder signed on as director. However, he brushed off such talk as “just a rumor.” But it gained traction again early this month, when a report surfaced that the movie's mysterious female lead would be the Kryptonian criminal Ursa, one of the three Phantom Zone villains seen in 1978's Superman: The Movie and 1980's Superman II.
Made famous in those two films by Terence Stamp, Zod first appeared in April 1961, in the pages of Adventure Comics #283, where he was the megalomaniacal leader of Krypton's military forces who attempted to take over the planet using an army of robot duplicates of himself. He was exiled to the Phantom Zone until he was released at the end of his sentence by Superboy. After attempting to conquer Earth, he was returned to the Phantom Zone, from which he escaped from time to time.
Somewhat different versions of Zod have appeared over the years in DC Comics continuity, most recently in the "Superman: Last Son" storyline by Geoff Johns and Superman director Richard Donner, where he escaped from the Phantom Zone with Ursa and Non to conquer Earth and transform it into a new Krypton. He played central roles in the subsequent "New Krypton" storyline, World of New Krypton miniseries and "War of the Supermen" event, after which he was returned to the Phantom Zone.
The Academy Award-nominated Mortensen, best known for his role in The Lord of the Rings, A History of Violence and Eastern Promises, is in talks to star in Universal's Snow White and the Huntsman.
The Superman reboot, which stars Henry Cavill as the Man of Steel, is written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan. Charles Rovan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder also are producing. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are executive producers. It’s expected to being production in June for a December 2012 release.