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Jesse Eisenberg On Playing Lex Luthor: ‘I Would Do It If It Was For Free’

In a new interview in Total Film magazine, actor Jesse Eisenberg, who will portray Lex Luthor in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, gives the movie and its writers more than just a ringing endorsement. He says he’d do the movie for no money at all if it was some low-budget flick. “I really liked it on its own terms. I would do it if it was for free and it was tiny.”

That seems like quite a stamp of approval. Sure, actors have to talk up their movies for promotion, but saying, “I’d do this for no pay” is a fairly extreme endorsement. And it turns out from the rest of the interview that Eisenberg isn’t exactly a fan of the superhero genre — but he may be coming around.

Here are a few other highlights from the interview:

On comic books and movie adaptations:

He doesn’t read them and hasn’t seen them. His only reply to a mention of Heath Ledger as The Joker in The Dark Knight is, “Oh, that’s interesting, really interesting.”

On whether Batman V Superman will take him to another level of fame:

“I’ve been in things that have been popular before. To say, I can’t do that which will appear in thousands of theaters on opening day, but I can do this which will appear in this amount of theaters… It’s arbitrary.”

On developing Lex Luthor as a character: 

“I got to know one of the writers really well, Chris Terrio, and we were able to discuss things at length and figure out who this person is to create a real psychology behind what is, perhaps, in a comic book, a less than totally modern psychology. I can only say I’ve been asked to play an interesting role: a complicated, challenging person.”

On the movie itself: 

“I realize how popular comic-book movies are, and now, working on one, I realize why they’re popular – the story is really good, the dialogue is really good, the artistry behind every department is high, the acting is really good.”

Big talk. But how does he feel about Warner Bros.’ reported joke policy? That, it seems, we’ll have to wait for.

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