Kevin Spacey has been cast as the villainous Lex Luthor in director Bryan Singer’s “Superman.” The Warner Bros. tentpole will begin production at Fox Studios Sydney on March 3.
Spacey’s deal was inked as the studio is in the midst of trying to complete a deal with Kate Bosworth to play Lois Lane for the long-in-the-works feature. Bosworth played Sandra Dee to Spacey’s Bobby Darin in “Beyond the Sea,” which Spacey directed, co-wrote and produced.
Actors will join newcomer Brandon Routh, who was chosen in October to play Superman.
Tentpole pic is Warner Bros.’ second resuscitation of a DC Comics franchise. Though “Catwoman” proved to be kitty litter, WB previously re-birthed its Caped Crusader franchise and will open the Christopher Nolan-directed “Batman Returns” on June 17.
Given Routh’s neophyte stature, star-casting the villain was a priority for the studio. Singer said that when he and scribes Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris hatched the idea for the film, Spacey was always the template for Luthor.
Singer, who directed Spacey to his first Oscar in “The Usual Suspects,” was able to entice the actor by presenting a schedule that allows the thesp to live up to his primary allegiance to the London stage, where he is artistic director of the Old Vic. While Singer begins production in March, Spacey won’t join until summer.
Before he heads to Australia, Spacey will have completed three plays: “Cloaca,” which he directed; “National Anthems,” which he’ll topline starting Feb. 1; and a limited run of “The Philadelphia Story,” in which he will star beginning May 3.
“The huge attraction for me was the chance to work with Bryan again,” Spacey said. “Lex Luthor is a wonderful role.”
Singer couldn’t comment on Bosworth because the deal isn’t done.
He said he and his writers chose a track that falls somewhere between the original film and the successful series “Smallville.”
“It’s a little like ‘X-Men,’ where the mutants existed when the movie began,” Singer said. “It’s not an origin story; I didn’t want to remake what Richard Donner did so well in the original, and didn’t want to tread on the great work they’re doing on ‘Smallville.’ He’s already part of the culture; he has left the planet. This is the story of his return.”