Here are the 2 actors who almost beat out Jesse Eisenberg to play Lex Luthor

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Feb 5, 2014, 4:14 PM EST

Like it or not, Jesse Eisenberg is the new Lex Luthor in Batman vs. Superman. But who did the studio approach first before signing the Social Network star as the Man of Steel’s new nemesis?

Some new information about Warner Bros.' casting process has leaked out via The Hollywood Reporter, and it seems the studio first approached Girls co-star Adam Driver and Walk the Line star Joaquin Phoenix for the Man of Steel sequel.

According to sources, Driver couldn’t take the role because of a scheduling conflict, while Phoenix reportedly flirted with the idea but ultimately passed. At 30 years old, the same age as Henry Cavill and Eisenberg, Driver could’ve been a good fit for a young Lex Luthor. Phoenix is a bit older, at 39, but the guy’s one heck of an actor, so it makes sense they’d have found a way to make it work.

Studio sources also noted that Eisenberg’s Luthor could be a friend to young Clark Kent before they become archenemies, much like the relationship explored on The CW’s long-running Smallville series. Hmm, okay, that is kind of interesting. As for all those other rumored casting options, from Bryan Cranston to Tom Hanks? It turns out neither of them was ever even approached for the role, though the option of Hanks was reportedly discussed internally at some point.

Snyder has already shown he wants to make a very different version of the Superman we’re used to seeing on the big screen, and bringing in a young Luthor is definitely one way to differentiate the Man of Steel-verse from all the previous films. Only time will tell if it’s actually a good idea.

What do you think? Would you have preferred one of these other options over Eisenberg?

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)