Russell Crowe is in talks to play the role of Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father, in director Zack Snyder's upcoming Man of Steel.
The news comes courtesy of Variety, which reported that the Australian actor has been approached for the role, adding that producer Christopher Nolan wanted a heavyweight star to take on the part. Other actors who had been considered included Sean Penn and Clive Owen.
The role was originally played in 1978's Superman by Marlon Brando, who made headlines by earning $3.7 million for approximately 13 minutes of screen time—the biggest payday ever for an actor up to that point.
Brando was also supposed to appear in 1981's Superman II, but a dispute between him and the producers led to his scenes (as a recording of Jor-El that Superman accesses in the Fortress of Solitude) being rewritten for his mother, Lara (Susannah York). The scenes were reinstated for the 2006 release of director Richard Donner's cut of Superman II.
Speaking of Lara, Latino Review reports that an offer has been made to Connie Nielsen (who co-starred with Crowe in Gladiator) to play that part in Man of Steel. If she and Crowe sign on, they'll join Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent) and Michael Shannon (General Zod) in the production, which starts shooting this summer for a December 2012 release.
Here's a question: With Jor-El, Lara, the Kents and Zod all showing up, doesn't this movie sound more and more like both an origin story (again) and a remake of Superman and/or Superman II? And while you're pondering that, do you think Russell Crowe can ably fill the shoes (not to mention the glowing robes) of Marlon Brando?