Image via DC Comics
David Bautista is one of those rare former professional wrestlers who has made the transition to full-on movie superstars. And while he has won over Marvel fans as the Guardians of the Galaxy’s overly-literal antihero Drax the Conqueror, Bautista hasn’t been able to make the leap into the DC Films universe of comic book films despite his attempts to snag the role of Batman nemesis Bane, famously portrayed by Tom Hardy in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises.
However, it seems Bautista now has his eye on a new role in the pantheon of DC Comics villains: Superman’s childhood friend-turned-archenemy Lex Luthor. The character has been played with comic affability before, both by Gene Hackman in the 1978 Superman and somewhat less iconically by Jesse Eisenberg in the 2016 Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice film.
And while it may seem an odd bit of miscasting to put the hulking deadpan muscleman as a supergenius billionaire, it’s no odder than his role as a Chicago schoolteacher-turned-possible apocalyptic savior in the forthcoming Knock at the Cabin. However, as far as ruthless billionaire brainiacs go Bautista isn’t necessarily our first – or even fifth – choice.
Here then are five actors who might be better choices for the role of Lex Luthor than Dave Bautista:
Having starred in a whole Star Wars trilogy and the MCU series Moon Knight Isaac certainly has experience toplining a major tentpole film. And while it may be a rude shock for fans of the actor to see him shave his beautiful head of salt-and-pepper hair, Isaac has the same sort of affable intensity that made acting great Gene Hackman so iconic in the role.
With Asian representation still lacking in big-budget comic book movies, Cho can bring a combination of working on hit properties such as the J. J. Abrams Star Trek movies along with the sort of character acting that made movies like the Harold & Kumar trilogy and the 2018 sleeper hit Searching so successful.
The motormouth comic icon may not be the first name that pops into your mind when you think “comic book villain,” but the comedian not only stole the classic low-budget comedy Friday, he also has held down hundred-million dollar action films like The Fifth Element and the Rush Hour trilogy.
And while he’s a bit more high energy than the typical comic book movie, he might give the traditionally grimdark DC Universe films a much-needed touch of levity and lightness.
Tiny Natalie Portman is nobody’s idea of a menacing figure of fear, but part of the point of the Luthor character is that what makes him such a formidable foe to Superman is that they are exact opposites. While Supes uses his strength, speed, and ability to fly, Luthor counters him with brains and the business acumen to fund his various schemes with his billions of dollars.
Not only did Portman convince in the comic book disappointment Thor: Love & Thunder, but she proved in the “Natalie Raps” SNL short that she has a villainous intensity to her.
To some, the 45th President of the United States is already an evil caricature. He wouldn’t have to shave his head to portray the bald supervillain Luthor – he’d just have to stop combing his side hair over. And while he’s not traditionally the best actor in his various cameo roles in movies like Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, he has years of experience acting like he’s a billionaire on his series The Apprentice.
And just like David Bautista, he has a connection to the world of professional wrestling as the only sitting president in US history to also be an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.