Jesse Eisenberg recently did an interview where he talks about how he tries to find the oddest parts of humanity, and then emulate them for his stories, and characters. He did take time out to say how this will apply to Lex Luthor in Batman v. Superman. For his homework on the role, he’s read the comic books to prepare, but hadn’t read them all that much before he gained the role.
There is this trove of stuff about this guy. A lot of it’s repetitive, like he always winds up on the roof of his building giving some faux benevolent talk about how he’s going to change the city…It’s fun to take that campy cartoony stuff and try to put it into a real person and try to reconcile the two.
In regards to how he’d approach Luthor compared to Gene Hackman’s approach, a much more Silver Aged interpretation, he said
…this movie is so different … it has real psychological underpinnings, and this movie character feels like a real scary person.
So he’s going with a more modern approach. A character that isn’t so much based on how much he can get away with that derives from greed and ambition, albeit they are certainly part of it, but more from a deeper need to essentially validate themselves. Lex Luthor, deep down, is a very insecure man. A deeply insecure man that also has a 10th level intellect, and vast resources at his disposal, combined with a whole slew of other nasty negative attributes. These, and many more, are all the reasons that make him Superman’s longest and most appealing enemy, and it seems Eisenberg realizes this is the key to making his version of Luthor appear on the screen.