‘Batman vs. Superman’ Almost Had Jesse Eisenberg Play a More Shocking Role
This goes without saying at this point, but spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to follow — so if you haven’t had a chance to see Zack Snyder’s new blockbuster just yet (it’s only Friday, after all), feel free to turn back now. That said, Snyder reveals the very different role Jesse Eisenberg almost had, along with some insight into a key scene that takes place early in the film.
Before Superman makes his big entrance, Amy Adams’ intrepid reporter Lois Lane is negotiating an interview with a terrorist leader of some kind in North Africa. When that goes sideways, her cameraman is murdered, but not before she briefly mentions his name: Jimmy. If you assumed the photographer was meant to be classic Superman character Jimmy Olsen, you assumed correct, but that scene could have been even more shocking. Snyder originally wanted Jesse Eisenberg to play Jimmy Olsen instead of Lex Luthor, as he explains to EW:
I thought, if it were Jesse Eisenberg and he got out and he goes, ‘I’m Jimmy Olsen,’ you’d be like, oh my God, we’re gonna have Jimmy Olsen in the whole movie, right?’” Snyder says. “And then if he got shot, you’d just be like, ‘What!? You can’t do that.’
But after Snyder and his producing partner Deborah Snyder met with Eisenberg and became more acquainted with his particular personality, the director though he’d make for a better Lex Luthor. There were other possibilities, of course, including Bryan Cranston, who had been rumored for the part early on:
We talked about the usual suspects that you would imagine; any actor who has been bald, probably. Bryan Cranston would have been great, right? And by the way, he’s an amazing actor. Can you imagine how different the movie would be?
Yes. Yes we can.
But let’s get back to Jimmy Olsen. Played by Michael Cassidy of The O.C. and Smallville fame, Jimmy has a brief but tragic appearance in Batman v Superman as a CIA agent masquerading as a photographer. As to why he was brutally killed immediately following his vague introduction, Snyder explains:
We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?
He sure does have some weird ideas about “fun” because Jimmy’s cameo is far from the cute wink-and-a-nod that Snyder thinks it to be. At any rate, the director says that Jimmy originally had a more formal introduction at the start of the scene, which we’ll see in his R-rated “Ultimate Edition” of the film when Batman v Superman hits Blu-ray later this year.