Heard anything interesting about Bryan Cranston lately?
Last week, a report from Cosmic Book News stated that the multiple Emmy-winning "Breaking Bad" star had been cast as perennial DC Comics villain Lex Luthor in the 2015 "Man of Steel" sequel set to pair Superman and Batman in live-action for the first time. This came just a day after the announcement that Ben Affleck will be the movie's Batman, news that ignited a flurry of very strong opinions from fans online.
The Cosmic Book News article didn't specify a source for the Luthor "scoop," and included some eyebrow-raising details, like Ben Affleck being signed for a "13-appearance deal" as Batman, and that noted Affleck pal and past collaborator Matt Damon was under consideration for both Aquaman and Martian Manhunter in a future "Justice League" film. Even with these red flags, several mainstream news outlets ran with the story, despite no confirmation from Cranston's camp or Warner Bros. Notably, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety and Deadline -- the three main sources of breaking news in the American film industry -- have not corroborated the piece.
Despite that, if Cranston does end up cast as Luthor, it wouldn't be out of nowhere. Cranston was quoted by Metro earlier in August as saying, "I like Lex Luthor. I think he's misunderstood. He's a loveable, sweet man." Prior to that, Latino Review reported rumors that both Cranston and Mark Strong, star of AMC's "Low Winter Sun" and Sinestro in the 2011 "Green Lantern" film, were potential candidates to play Lex Luthor.
However, it's important to remember that there has been no official announcement or confirmation that Cranston is in any way involved with the "Man of Steel" sequel, -- in fact, outlets now seem to be backing away from the prospect -- or that Luthor is a character in the film at all. There is still a lot to be revealed concerning the upcoming Batman/Superman film, and a lot of distance between now and its scheduled release date of July 17, 2015. (Update: Cranston has since dismissed the rumors, telling The Boston Globe that reports of him playing Luthor are "all news to me.")
But, if DC's current superhero film franchise continues, it's virtually inevitable that Superman's greatest foe will pop up sooner or later -- the LexCorp logos in "Man of Steel" weren't there just for decoration, after all.
When we do see Lex Luthor on the big screen again, who should it be? Among the "Breaking Bad" cast alone, Bryan Cranston isn't the only credible choice -- what about his similarly bald and intimidating co-star, Dean Norris? What if instead of a middle-aged actor that's the typical choice for Luthor, Warner Bros. went with someone closer in age to 30-year-old Henry Cavill's Superman? What if the producers choose to change things up, and a caucasian actor isn't the right direction to be guessing at all?
So, is Bryan Cranston the best choice to menace the Man of Steel and Gotham's Dark Knight? Or is there a more suitable Luthor out there? We've compiled a few different options, including actors we genuinely think might be able to carry the role and are reasonably realistic candidates, along with a few fanboy pipe dreams. Select one of the actors in our poll below, and if we've missed your pick, let us know in the forums!