WARNING: Spoilers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice below.
If you’ve seen Batman v Superman over the weekend and left the theater wondering where in the holy heck Jimmy Olsen was, well, the Daily Planet ace photographer and Superman’s (Henry Cavill) pal did put in an appearance in director Zack Snyder’s superhero movie, but he was never named.
Did you guys already guess who it was?
When intrepid reporter (or should I say reckless reporter) Lois Lane (Amy Adams) went on a risky mission in Africa to interview a highly dangerous warlord, she was accompanied by a photographer who, in a matter of minutes, was shot and killed in front of her as soon as he was revealed to be a CIA spy. That photographer’s name? Yep. Jimmy Olsen. Played by Michael Cassidy (The Magicians). Fun Fact: Cassidy played a mysterious Daily Planet editor on The CW's Smallville.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Snyder went out to explain the highly controversial move to kill Jimmy Olsen in the Warner Bros. comic-book movie.
“We just did it as this little aside because we had been tracking where we thought the movies were gonna go, and we don’t have room for Jimmy Olsen in our big pantheon of characters, but we can have fun with him, right?”
The moment is meant to be a massive shock to the audience (ya think?), but the director decided to soften the blow for the PG-13 version of the movie by keeping the character’s true identity under wraps. However, on the R-rated “Ultimate Edition” of the film set to be released this summer, Olsen will reveal himself to Lois. Snyder said:
“He comes up to her and he goes, ‘Lois Lane, I’m Jimmy Olsen, photographer, obviously … You know, I’ve been assigned to you for this mission.’ But it turns out that Jimmy Olsen is a spook for the CIA.”
It seems that early on in production Snyder wanted to cast a famous actor in the role in order to take the viewers off guard when Olsen would be killed onscreen. And the person the director wanted was Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network).
“I thought, if it were Jesse Eisenberg and he got out and he goes, ‘I’m Jimmy Olsen,’ you’d be like, oh my God, we’re gonna have Jimmy Olsen in the whole movie, right?’” Snyder says. “And then if he got shot, you’d just be like, ‘What!? You can’t do that.’”
Snyder and his wife, producer Deborah Snyder, did meet with Eisenberg to pitch the Zombieland actor the idea of playing the iconic Superman character in this “sudden-death cameo.”
“I said, ‘I want to do this misdirect and you’d be great. You’d be a great Jimmy Olsen,’” the director says. “And he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s cool,’ and he was being very Jesse in the meeting. Introverted but constantly going, ‘Okay, I see, uh-huh. So it’s sort of a pop-culture redirect, you’re gonna do, because of the certain status of an actor…’”
Here’s the bit in the interview explaining how everything went down:
As Eisenberg thought out loud in rapid-fire bursts, Snyder watched the nervy, jangled young actor and started thinking of withdrawing the Jimmy Olsen offer. And after the 32-year-old actor left the meeting, Snyder turned to his wife: “I was like, ‘Wow, that guy is crazy… Debbie, what about Jesse as Lex?”
What do you think of Zack Snyder offing such a beloved character in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice? Do you agree with him about there being no room for Jimmy Olsen in the DC Extended Universe, or do you think it's a big mistake on the director's part? Would the character's death have made a bigger impact with Jesse Eisenberg in the role?