There’s a new Lex Luthor in town. Nicholas Hoult is in talks to star as the classic DC Comics villain in James Gunn’s Superman: Legacy, EW has confirmed.
He joins the previously announced David Corenswet (Hollywood), Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel), Nathan Fillion (The Rookie), Isabela Merced (Dora and the Lost City of Gold), Edi Gathegi (For All Mankind), Anthony Carrigan (Barry), and Maria Gabriela (Animal Control). Deadline was the first to report the news.
Corenswet takes the title role of Clark Kent/Superman, while Brosnahan is playing Lois Lane. Fillion, Merced, Gathegi, Carrigan, and Gabriela will make appearances as DC heroes Guy Gardner (a Green Lantern), Hawkgirl, Mister Terrific, Metamorpho, and the Engineer, respectively.
Hoult was originally among the crop of actors being considered for the lead Superman role, before Corenswet ultimately won the part. The actor previously played comic book character Beast in the X-Men films, and went bald for the role of Nux in Mad Max: Fury Road.
As Superman’s longtime billionaire arch nemesis, Luthor has been portrayed by many actors on screen — almost as many times as Superman himself. Gene Hackman played the Lex of Christopher Reeve’s Man of Steel era, Kevin Spacey took the role for the Brandon Routh-led Superman Returns, and Jesse Eisenberg played Lex opposite Henry Cavill’s Kal-El/Clark Kent in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League.
On the small screen, John Shea (Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman), Michael Rosenbaum (Smallville), Jon Cryer (Supergirl), Titus Welliver (Titans), and now Michael Cudlitz (Superman & Lois) have played the role.
Superman: Legacy, written and directed by Gunn, follows a younger Kal-El as he reconciles his Kryptonian heritage with his human life as Clark Kent from Smallville, Kan. The film, Gunn has said, will be “the true foundation of our creative vision for the DC Universe,” which includes movies about DC’s superhero team the Authority, Batman, Supergirl, and Swamp Thing, as well as shows about the Creature Commandos, Amanda Waller, Booster Gold, the Green Lanterns, and the Amazons of Themyscira.
Despite the presence of other big DC heroes, including members of hero team the Authority, Gunn affirms that this film is fundamentally a Superman story. The other characters, he said back in July over Threads, “fit the story I’m telling. Story always comes first.”
“The primary story most definitely revolves around Superman and Lois,” he added.