Although everyone from Bryan Cranston to Mark Strong to Idris Elba has been rumored to play the main antagonist in the "Man of Steel" sequel, Variety now reports Warner Bros. wants Joaquin Phoenix for the role widely believed to be Lex Luthor.
However, while citing those ubiquitous unnamed "sources," the website notes that it's still early in the process, and it's unclear whether the three-time Oscar nominee would want to appear in such a big-budget production.
"Game of Thrones" alum Jason Momoa and "Zero Dark Thirty" actor Callan Mulvey recently have been reported in connection with villain roles in director Zack Snyder's film, but it seems unlikely that either would be cast as Superman's iconic arch-nemesis.
Phoenix, who can be seen now in Spike Jonze's love story "Her," was nominated for an Academy Award for his performance as the villainous Commodus in Ridley Scott's 2000 historical drama "Gladiator."
In related news, the studio has brought in Oscar-winning writer Chris Terrio, who worked with star Ben Affleck on "Argo," to pen a draft of the sequel. According to The Hollywood Reporter, he's tasked with polishing David S. Goyer's script before filming begins. Goyer, of course, is busy with other DC Comics properties, including the "Sandman" movie and NBC's planned "Constantine" television series.
Also starring Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne and Gal Gadot, the "Man of Steel" sequel flies into theaters on July 17, 2015.