The next actor to join the mercurial yet intriguing cast of Batman vs. Superman could be Joaquin Phoenix, as everyone's favorite chrome-domed, corporate supervillain, Lex Luthor.
I don't think anyone who's seen Gladiator can doubt Phoenix's ability to play a completely off-the-wall megalomaniac a la Emperor Nero (the actor unscriptedly tore a sink out of the wall for Walk the Line for Pete's sake), but it's still early to get too excited. The talks are preliminary so far, as is the rumored role of Lex Luthor. Those with their ears to the wall have heard whispers of actors diverse as Denzel Washington, Bryan Cranston, and Mark Strong for Luthor, Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman, and even Jason Mamoa (Game of Thrones' Khal Drogo) for Doomsday.
Also vying for Phoenix's considerable acting ability are the people behind Gus van Sant's new project Sea of Trees, in which an American travels to the "Suicide Forest" at the foot of Mt. Fuji to take his own life, but reconsiders upon meeting a Japanese businessman, with whom he goes on a The Edge-type journey of peril and self-discovery.
Honestly, Sea of Trees seems to be the likelier choice--the actor hasn't graced a film on the mainstream scale of Batman vs. Superman since 2005's Walk the Line. Then again, we're talking about the guy who sunk his own career with a self-mockumentary about turning into a rap star, so who can say? The Phoenix will rise where he pleases.
Batman vs. Superman is set for release on July 17, 2015, with Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Amy Adams currently attached to the project. Zack Snyder will be returning to direct.