"The character is, luckily, a really great character. Actors can sometimes find really cool things in characters that aren’t written well. This character is written really well."
"For a movie like The Double or Night Moves, arguably me doing interviews for it is much more important for it than doing an interview for Batman, because there’s not that much money for posters. Whereas for Batman, if I was in a coma after it was filmed… So I don’t really see it as that different. You’re just exposed to more people, so walking down the street is more annoying."
"It’s important to be in those big things. I happen to want to do this movie because the character is awesome, but it’s also important to be in those for some kind of longevity."
"I can’t say anything about this stuff, they want all this to be a surprise."
"I would love to [play Lex again]. It’s a great group and director, and the most ideal character to play."
"No. I never minded him [reading comics]. Oh, just to understand the context of this one. But no, not as a child."
"I like what this writer does, this guy Chris Terrio. He wrote this movie we did and I just think he’s so great. He’s such a good writer. I like what he does with characters, I like what he does with wordplay and cleverness. I like anything he writes."
"It’s a really great character that’s written by this guy, Chris Terrio, he’s a phenomenal writer. He loves my character in the same way I love my character. He put a lot of work into it. It’s a great character, there’s an emotional core to the character. It’s not this silly, villainous character. This is a real depiction of a person who thinks these things. So the challenge is to make it seem real."
"[about Comic-Con] It is like being screamed at by thousands of people. I don't know what the experience is throughout history, probably some kind of genocide. I can't think of anything that's equivalent."
"Maybe on some cellular memory level, that's the only thing that seems like an equivalent social experience... Even if they're saying nice things, just being shouted at by thousands of people, it's horrifying."
"I of course was using hyperbole to describe the sensory overload I experienced. I sometimes do employ that. I'm a normal person who has normal sensory experiences, so Comic-Con was very overwhelming for me. That said, it was really an honor to be on that end of such jubilation."
"That people are excited about it in that way is unheard of and thrilling."
"Yes, it is like the most incredible character. It was written by this guy, Chris Terrio. This is like his first movie after Argo. He's just this brilliant writer of characters. So this movie is not this kind of cartoonish superhero movie. It is very serious and well acted, well written, well directed movie. It's really phenomenal!"
"Listen, the responsibility is on me to keep my guard up when discussing something that is going to be parsed. I'm not new to it, but I should be savvier. The truth of the matter is I had a wonderful experience at Comic-Con because people loved the movie that I was in. In my attempt to make a dumb, self-deprecating joke I maybe hurt people's feelings and that's wrong... whether or not people had a sense of humor is another story."
"There's this two-pronged pressure that I feel. You do so many interviews and there's this tacit request to be honest and open and yet then there's this simultaneous flogging of a person who says things, says things that are 1 percent off center."
"In a lot of ways, Luthor is more of a stretch than any character you would do in an independent movie, which is normally the place you stretch. So in that way it was not at all compromised. If anything, it was the best, most advantageous role I've ever been given... it's because the opportunity to do an interesting character on a movie of that scale is incredibly rare. The character is written by the phenomenal writer Chris Terrio. His background is not in comic books, so he was coming at it from emotion and story and created this really wonderful character, as enigmatic as he is emotionally honest."
"Now people expect the tone to be more realistic just because we live in a world where the average audience member has a sense of psychological motivations... how can one man - Superman - have so much power? These are the kind of things that we talk about when we think about authoritarian states, when we talk about Vladimir Putin having a strong foothold in Eastern Europe. They're addressing geopolitics in this movie and not in a way that's pretentious or esoteric. Terrio cleverly ties in these really exciting superhero elements with these really sophisticated, philosophical themes in a much smarter, different way. That's what I like to do with my writing: to have these very sophisticated debates happen on very basic levels."
"There is this trove of stuff about this guy. A lot of it's repetitive, like he always winds up on the roof of his building giving some faux benevolent talk about how he's going to change the city. It's fun to take that campy cartoony stuff and try to put it into a real person and try to reconcile the two."
"He's so different from him... it has real psychological underpinnings, and this movie character feels like a real scary person."
"He is a lot of the things we know about the character. It's a very modern take on his otherwise historic and iconic character. He has a, I would say, recognizably modern psychology, whether it's being used to charm or destroy."
"It's strange acting with people like Ben Affleck, having to condescend to someone like him. Off set, you're thinking of this person is reverential terms, and then on set I condescending him, really quite nasty..."
"When you see the movie, you'll see. It's the greatest scene that I've ever gotten to take part in — it accounts for the change in hair."
"The only difference between this movie and everything else I've ever been in is this has an audience that has prior expectations, and that's the only thing that I find disconcerting because it feels like some people are occasionally ready to get angry at me for the part they haven't seen me play yet. It's bewildering."
"If there are some surface similarities to another role, an audience will tend to see that. An actor won't. Lex feels like a totally new and unusual person."
"It was written in a way I would say dovetails with my skills, it was written with a real psychological underpinning, it was written with a kind of humor that I knew I could do. And with a dramatic intensity that I enjoy. He uses wordplay and very clever allusions to other stories and myths, but it never compromises what is scary about him. He's full of rage. He is the guy who won't sleep to get something done."
"What I think, makes the story relevant is this questioning of the value of this kind of power in the real world. So my character, who has what we would think of as modern financial success, it threatened by this guy who has power in a supernatural way. Superman is an existential threat to my character."
"The character is in line with what audiences want to see now, which is a more modern, psychologically realistic concept of Lex Luthor. His motivations are multifaceted; he has a way of using language that’s specific to the way his mind works; he struggles with interesting philosophical dilemmas like that of the individual having too much power, even if that individual is using that power for good. For instance, Superman has so far been using his powers to do some good, but is it safe to have someone like that walking the streets? It’s great that all of this happens in the context of a very exciting superhero movie."
"He reminds me of one of those characters in old Greek theater who very explicitly state the philosophical dilemma at hand and put it in a way that feels in line with that character’s interests and voice. He speaks in broad themes and ideas: That’s what makes the character very theatrical and yet authentic. This is the kind of role actors really like to play because you don’t feel like it’s a problem if you color outside the lines. I can be as funny as I want to be in the context of my character behaving poorly, and I can be as sad as I want because the character’s also going through real internal conflict. Take it as far as you want and be as theatrical as you want to be – it’s all correct."
"The previous movies are interesting to watch, but they feel unrelated. This incarnation of the character is drawn so differently. I’d read the comic books, but I figured out pretty quickly there’s not much there that relates to an acting role; it’s just a different format. You know the old joke about actors—if you’re playing the messenger, you think it’s a play about the messenger—but the main characters are wonderful as well."
"They’re both very smart, funny people. They were wonderful to work with because we were all sort of adjusting things to make the scenes as good as they could be. Henry has already played Superman in another movie so he has such a strong idea of his character. That was fun for me because I could play with that. Ben Affleck is also very sharp. Doing this was a lot of fun because the three of us like to improvise, changing dialogue and all. But it was also strange for me: I have a lot of respect for both of them and yet my character mocks them both a lot in the movie. But that was just the nature of the thing."
"My character is a megalomaniacal, narcissistic guy who thinks he's saving humanity by destroying Superman - who he views as an alien invader who's here to reek havoc at will. Yes, claims to sometimes do good but actually he poses more of a threat because he has more power than anyone. I think of myself as the savior of humanity."
"I'm kind of shocked any time somebody hires me and even more shocked any time somebody hires me to play a character like Lex Luthor, which I only knew from the public consciousness of him being a bald, brooding villain who is older than me."
"I play bad guys in movies if possible because I feel more sympathy for the guy who's tortured than the guy who is confident. That's why I'm probably going to do a third Now You See Me. I get to play this brash, arrogant magician, while in my life I'm a shy, quiet person and I grew up with no social life. It's a great outlet to play these characters."
"I view myself in the narrowest possible terms, but I don't watch anything I've been in and I don't read reviews or analysis of movies I've been in, or my plays. I have a very specific feeling about what I do. I really like thinking that you're working in this bubble and I can experience these personal emotions without thinking that it's going to be scrutinized by, in some cases, a lot of people, in some cases, a small group of people. To take that burden off yourself of thinking about how it's going to be perceived by other people or myself has kind of made me feel that much more comfortable."
"What I wanted to do with the character is kind of what I want to do in this play, which is I want to humanize these people that you have seen … dehumanized. I wanted to make these people real and relatable and interesting and engaging, not just, you know, a surface bad person. To me, the most interesting acting is when actors can bring you into that other side of the person. When you feel like you are not just seeing the kind of purpose of them for plot. That they are not just delivering a message. They’re actually showing you humanity. And that’s what I tried to do with that character. Whether or not I succeeded or failed depends on your subjective opinion on what you think of people like that. That’s my goal as an actor."
"They are filming it now, and I jump in from August. I loved the character and it was the most fun I’ve ever had at playing a role, and most challenging, in a great way, and most rewarding. I would love to play it for years. The character I play is so unusual and complicated. As an actor he’s everything you’d want to do. It’s very exciting for me to play that role. And, secondarily, it’s interesting to be in these massive, high-profile movies, because all the stuff around you as an actor is really good. All the artists are really great, so you walk on to a set and it’s the most-detailed, comprehensive set, and as an actor it really fills in your imagination in a special way. You’re also acting with incredible actors. In the last movie I had lots of scenes with Holly Hunter, who has been one of my favorite actors since I was young. This all exists because this movie is so massive that they attract so many talented people, even in smaller positions. It was really special to me. The most exciting part was to play such an interesting character and I certainly hope he stays alive throughout the next few films."
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