Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to play Lex Luthor in 'Batman v Superman,' Zack Snyder said. That would have broken his 'no superhero movies' rule.

Leonardo DiCaprio a the AFI Awards Luncheon, and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."
Leonardo DiCaprio (left) and Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice."

  • Leonardo DiCaprio was in talks to star in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," director Zack Snyder said.

  • Snyder said that he had a lengthy conversation with DiCaprio about him playing Lex Luther.

  • If DiCaprio had taken the role, it would have broken his "no superhero movies" rule.

Leonardo DiCaprio was one of the actors in talks to play Lex Luthor in "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," director Zack Snyder said.

Snyder's DC Extended Universe, which had moderate levels of success, is no more now that co-chairmen James Gunn and Peter Safran are in charge at DC studios. They're rebooting the comic book franchise completely, starting with 2025's "Superman," starring David Corenswet as the iconic hero.

Snyder led the previous attempt at bringing DC's heroes to the big screen, starting with 2013's "Man of Steel." He followed it up with "Batman v Superman" in 2015, which pits Batman (Ben Affleck) against Superman (Henry Cavill), while Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) pulls the strings from the shadows and experiments with Kryptonian technology.

The film was a critical misfire, with a 29% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and many criticized Eisenberg's performance as Superman's nemesis. NME described the actor's "awkward, twitchy" villain as "misconceived and miscast."

But Luthor could have been drastically different if DiCaprio had agreed to star in the film. On Thursday, Snyder told the "Happy Sad Confused" podcast that he was in talks with the actor to play the villain.

"Leonardo DiCaprio, I talked to about it. I think DiCaprio, he had a lot of great ideas actually just in the meeting. I think in the end he was like 'I don't know,'" Snyder recalled. "But he was really smart about the material and really smart about the character."

The director also noted that the actor gave him an idea for a scene that he later used for 2017's "Justice League."

"I think he was the one that mentioned to me this idea about Superman fighting the Justice League at some point, and I was like 'That sounds cool,'" he added.

The idea of DiCaprio as a comic book villain is a tantalizing prospect, but it would've gone against his own "no superhero movies" rule.

When speaking to British Vogue in 2022, rising star Timothée Chalamet explained that DiCaprio gave him some vital advice to stick to: "No hard drugs and no superhero movies."

This rule has seemingly played a part in DiCaprio's success, as he has mainly taken roles in more serious movies, and many of his performances have been met with high praise.

He's been nominated for six Oscars during his career for his work in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape," "The Aviator," "Blood Diamond," "The Wolf of Wall Street," and "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." And DiCaprio won the Oscar for best actor in 2017 after his grueling performance in "The Revenant."

Clearly, he doesn't need to star in a superhero movie, but he would likely do an impressive job if he ever changed his mind.

The "Inception" star might have turned down the DC villain, but the character will next be played by "Mad Max" star Nicholas Hoult in Gunn's 2025 "Superman" reboot.

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