Fan-Cast: 6 Actors I Believe Could Play Lex Luthor In Man of Steel 2

After about two years of built up anticipation, Zack Snyder's Man of Steel has finally hit theaters.  While it's so far garnered some mix reviews from fans and critics alike, the film's projected box office grossing seems to be enough for Warner Bros. as they've already hired both director Zack Snyder and writer David S. Goyer to return for the sequel. Now the big question remains open to speculation, just who will Superman be facing this time around?

One of the main reasons I feel people don't really take Lex seriously in film is the fact that he's practically the polar opposite of Superman, yet we're actually supposed to believe this bald and out of shape middle aged man is supposed to take down the most powerful man on our planet, with a green crystal. So in this case, with Zod already providing for quite a threat to the Man of Steel, now Luthor's really got a hard act to follow. So I personally believe the key to making Luthor a more threatening and memorable villain is by simply making him a younger physical villain. It's a change that's already been made in the comics years ago, and it's about time we see it on the big screen too.
I like to think of Lex as almost a reverse mirror of Clark Kent and his personality and morals. Now while Bizzaro may be considered the "reverse Superman", Lex is really the reverse of his human side. While we still don't know how Snyder and David S. Goyer will be handling the relationship between Lex and Clark, in many incarnations the two both grew up together in Smallville, and started from very similar humble beginnings. One of them of course becoming the corrupt business mogul and CEO of LexCorp, while the other became the beacon of hope for humanity. And as fate would have it these two ended up crossing paths once again, and forged one of the greatest rivalries in comic book history.
So it's about time we finally got to see that on the big screen, and a younger Lex with a deeper connection to Clark Kent is exactly what would suit the version of Superman Snyder and Goyer are bringing to the big screen. That being said, Lex Luthor can literally make Superman's life hell, and he's willing to go to all lengths to accomplish that. He can time travel, he has created numerous beings to kill Superman including Bizarro, Metallo, and Doomsday, and he even has his own Warsuit the runs on Kryptonian technology and makes him an even physical opponent for Superman. So it's about time we finally get a look at that, and Snyder's definitely the right guy to give it to us. Anyway, now that I'm done with my rant, here are six actors I could see taking on Superman's arch-foe in a Man of Steel sequel.

6. Christopher Meloni
Okay so my first choice on this list in basically impossible at this point, I just couldn't get past how awesome he'd be in the role. The thing is, when Christopher Meloni was first added to the cast of Man of Steel, I was ecstatic that one of my own choices for the role of Superman's arch-rival Lex Luthor was actually going to be in the film. Well as it would turn out, they ended up casting the guy I thought would be the perfect Lex Luthor into some military colonel role. Pretty underwhelming, but even though he played Colonel Hardy in Man of Steel, there's no denying Meloni would've made for a pretty great Lex Luthor. While he's best known to most for his role in Law and Order, but the role that really convinces me how great of a Lex he could've been is his part as Roman on True Blood. He played the whole charismatic evil leader angle already as Roman, and he did a pretty damn good job at it.

5. Mark Strong
I figured I'd get the least likely choices out of the way first which is the main reason why Mark Strong isn't higher on this list.  Mark Strong is probably one of the most underrated villain actors right now, but the poor guy just can't catch a break with the roles he's getting. One of those roles just so happens to be DC's Green Lantern, where he played Sinestro who probably got fifteen minutes of screen time in the whole movie, despite being the strongest character of the film. We'll probably never be able to see Strong truly take on the evil side of Sinestro with a Green Lantern sequel being so unlikely, so what if Strong could finally get the role he deserves with Lex Luthor.
The main problem here is that if you think about it from the perspective of the execs. at Warner Bros., does it really seem like a smart idea to recycle an actor from your sad excuse of a superhero movie (Green Lantern in case you guys forgot) and just plug him in to yet another DC villain role and pray it'll workout this time. The sad truth is, while Strong has all the necessary characteristics and acting ability to give us a memorable Lex Luthor, from his business corruption to his pure hatred for Superman, Strong as Lex is just a risk Warner Bros. probably won't be taking.

4. Jason Isaacs
Where to begin with Jason Isaacs. Yet another pretty underrated actor, and one of my personal current favorites, yet it's still a mystery to me why he hasn't played a superhero villain yet. While I'm sure Jason Isaacs is a pretty cool guy in real life, this man was born to play villains, plain and simple. Jason Isaacs made such an impression as Lucius Malfoy in the Harry Potter series, that I could've honestly seen Isaacs' taking on the part of He Who Must Not Me Named himself. While the villain of Norman Osborn aka the Green Goblin was really the role I was rooting for Isaacs to be cast in, that part has since gone to Chris Cooper, so the door's open for Isaacs to play just about any villain role he wants. The match-up of Isaacs' Luthor and Henry Cavill's Superman would definitely be a great onscreen dynamic. He has the charismatic qualities of Lex, and he can pull off the almost double personality of him being such a well liked figure by the public, yet such an evil threat behind the scenes.
My main issue with Isaacs is that the guy's almost too good a villain actor to be wasted on a role like Lex. Isaacs has shown his range through countless roles in the past, and in all honesty I can think of about ten other comic book villains I would want to see him tackle before Lex Luthor. That isn't to say Lex Luthor isn't a character that requires an actor with range, but I feel that putting Isaacs into a role like Lex would be constraining him from showing his full acting potential. Where as say a role like Batman's enemy Ras Al Ghul would be a better fit for Isaacs. Case in point, as badass as it would be to see Isaacs' and Cavill  go toe to toe, Lex Luthor isn't the best suited comic book villain out there for him. But hey, if Snyder decides to get him in role, I'm all good with that.

3. Bradley Cooper
Out of all my picks on this list this is probably the most risky, and I recognize I'll probably get a lot of crap for it but I stick by it. A rumor that Cooper would be featured in Zack Snyder's Man of Steel as Lex sprung up about a year ago (Which as we all know turned out to be false), and quite frankly, I was pretty worried about the rumor being true. That was back when I'd really only seen Cooper in The Hangover series and Limitless, and while he might've been able to slightly show off his dramatic acting chops in the latter, it wasn't enough to convince me he'd be believable as Superman's arch-nemesis. 
Now since then that rumor has come and gone and I've definitely come around to the idea of Cooper as Lex, primarily because of his outstanding performance in last year's Silver Linings Playbook. Cooper was not only able to display the dramatic and emotional complexity he can bring to roles (Given the right script of course) but at times in the film he truly came off as a pretty scary mentally unstable person, yet he still manages to make his character charismatic. It's something that can definitely work to his advantage if he ever ends up playing Lex.
The main problem with Cooper as Lex is the fact that, well, he's Bradley Cooper. My main concern is that people wouldn't really be able to take Cooper seriously in the role, and even though he'd be playing a very different role from what he usually does, people would still just see Bradley Cooper instead of seeing Lex Luthor. On top of that Cooper's a pretty serious actor in Hollywood right now, and even if way back when he was a rumored candidate for DC's Green Lantern, it seems a comic book movie isn't exactly up Cooper's alley at this point in his career. It'd be great if he'd take a crack at it and prove that he can pull off a really sinister role, but with Cooper being an Oscar nominee (Most likely seeking another) it doesn't seem like a very realistic option.

2. Michael Fassbender
Now I'm starting to lean more to the younger actor choices for Lex. Michael Fassbender's name has been coming up a lot recently for the part of DC's next Batman and even our next James Bond, but I could personally see him pulling off a distinct and intimidating Lex Luthor. Like Isaacs, Fassbender is kind of typecast into these villain roles, but it's only because he's so damn good at it. Out of all the actors on this list, Fassbender would probably bring the darkest portrayal of Luthor and truly showcase his hatred of Superman and determination to finish him off. Fassbender's showcased his talents in countless films including X-Men: First Class, Shame, and Inglorious Basterds, each of which showed just how menacing he can be on screen.
But there's a few problems I have with Fasssbender as Luthor, and they're the main things holding him back from being my top choice. First off is the most obvious, which is that fact that Fassbender's already starring in a superhero franchise as Magneto, so the chances of him crossing over to the other side (By that I mean DC) and playing yet another comic book villain aren't likely. Now on top of that, while I feel that out of all my choices Fassbender would showcase the most threatening Luthor, I don't feel that'd he'd be able to pull off the character's charismatic side.
What makes Luthor such a distinct villain is he's good at hiding his evil, and the public all falls for it (To the point that they vote for him as President) and it's something I just can't see Fassbender pulling off believably. But those points aside, the main reason he isn't my number one choice is because he unfortunately just can't hide his Irish accent. It constantly comes out in many of his films, and it really isn't his fault, but he can't hide his accent nearly as well as Henry Cavill hid his. The accent is pretty strong and distracting, and would hold Fassbender back from pulling off the Corporate American Lex Luthor. Sorry Fassbender.

1. Jon Hamm
Is it the most original choice? Not by a long shot, but there's no denying just how perfect Hamm is for Luthor. Where as the other actors on this list have their advantages and disadvantages, Hamm is the only one with the perfect balance of all the qualities needed for a different and memorable take on Lex. It's worth mentioning that Hamm himself was brought up by many for the role of Superman, and I think it'd be a great play on things to have Luthor resemble Superman in more ways than one (He could easily pass a relative of Cavill). It'd be great to see the two on screen together (Not to mention they both would bring in a lot of female viewers), and it really emphasizes on the whole "mirror image of Clark Kent" I talked about wanting for this version of Lex in the beginning of this article.
Hamm's best known for his role on AMC's Mad Men as Don Draper, a character who has many parallels to Luthor. Hamm's no stranger to the corporate American executive role, so he's already got one of the many qualities of Luthor down. He's also expanded his acting into film recently, and he gave a surprising performance in villain role of Ben Affleck's The Town. He definitely did a fantastic job in that film and was one of it's main standout performances, and it show's that Hamm has what it takes to portray to make his role very intimidating to the audience as well as making him a believable threat to the film's protagonist. 
Hamm's also an incredible actor with great versatility among his roles, and it helps that he's got a good balance between humor and dramatic acting chops. Like Heath Ledger's Joker, Lex has to be very charismatic and should be able to even get a few laughs from the crowd, something Hamm should have no trouble doing. Out of all the people Snyder should be taking into consideration for Lex in Man of Steel 2, Hamm is without a doubt the best fit as he's exactly what Luthor needs to be. In the past Hamm's even done a video for Funny or Die in which he played Luthor himself, and while it was intended as a joke it's really a great portrayal of exactly how a modern version of the Lex should be. Check it out below:
Well there's my list of Lex Luthor candidates for a Man of Steel sequel. Did I leave out any other suitable contenders for the part? Sound off below.