Last we heard about Batman vs. Superman, Jason Momoa (Conan) was in talks to play a role in the film. It was unclear what role that would be, but considering his intimidating presence on screen, everyone assumed it would be the villain (which fit in with other recent rumors that Doomsday would be in the film). But now Variety is reporting that if Momoa does end up in the film, he will just be a villain, not THE villain. That character is supposedly Lex Luthor, and Warner Bros. really wants Joaquin Phoenix to play him.
Before we go further, since this rumor is already spreading like wild fire and being misreported, this does not mean that Warner Bros. has offered Joaquin Phoenix the role of Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. All that we do know is that in a perfect world where Warner Bros. got their way, Phoenix would play the main bad guy, whoever that is.
And that makes a bit of sense and would certainly follow Man of Steel's blueprint, which cast an actor known primarily for his incredible work in non-blockbuster movies (Michael Shannon) as its villain. But does it make sense for Phoenix's career? Not really. The actor has never shown any inclination for taking on utterly massive movies like this. (He also supposedly passed on playing Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers.) The largest-scale studio movie he's ever been in was Gladiator, and that doesn't even come close to the kind of publicity juggernaut that will no doubt be Batman vs. Superman. Can anyone imagine Phoenix spending months doing a global press tour to promote a movie like this? It just doesn't seem like the kind of job he seeks in his career, which is doing just fine without these kind of massive movies.
But, even if Phoenix doesn't take the role, we can certainly see why the studio would want him to. He's one of the finest actors around and he's shown no signs of slowing down in either popularity or quality. His performance in Her will most likely earn him a Best Actor nomination (it certainly should; he's tremendous in it), which would be a great bit of PR for the studio, but considering Phoenix doesn't seem to care about the limelight or paychecks the way other A-list actors do, it's a bit hard to imagine him taking on this kind of commitment. Then again, there's always a first time for everything.
However, since none of us know what Phoenix is indeed thinking about all of this, let's just ask a simpler question: Do you think he'd be a good Lex Luthor? Our gut says yes, because we're pretty confident Joaquin Phoenix could crush any role he takes on, but we have a feeling there's plenty of people out there who would disagree.
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