Jon Cryer will appear in tonight’s episode of “Supergirl” playing Lex Luthor for the first time. Having previously played Lex’s nephew Lenny in the movie “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”, Cryer says he was skeptical at first about playing the role.
“To this day, I’m not 100 percent sure why they asked me. But I’ve really loved the scripts so far, and I get what they’re doing. This Lex is a lot closer to the comics than Gene Hackman’s was. This guy is a sociopath, so it’s actually a darker play, and I think they were trying to find somebody who could find a twinkle in the eye of that. Which is hard! And I have to say, it only took me a few minutes before I was 100 percent comfortable and was like, “Oh, yeah, I’m exactly the guy for this.”
As for what research he did to take on the role of Lex Luthor, the self-professed “comic-book geek” says he did some additional reading…
“Yeah, DC did send me a bunch of the seminal Luthor graphic novels and a book of the whole history of Luthor as a character, but they sent it up to me two days after I’d already started shooting. [Laughs.] I was, like, “Guys, this is a little late!” But I was already familiar with him, since I was a comic geek since I was 8 years old. Although I was mostly into Marvel stuff as a kid. It actually wasn’t until the DC renaissance with guys like Frank Miller that really brought me around to DC. Also, Jack Kirby moved over to DC for a while toward the end of his career, and that helped get me interested as well.
But, of course, the bigger thing for me was to be able to somehow make up for Superman IV! [Laughs.] Superman IV was a really difficult experience for me. It’s fun to laugh about a movie that’s become a “so bad it’s good” movie, and it’s fun to do a panel at Comic-Con or listen to the How Did This Get Made? episode about it – which, by the way, is hilarious. Doing it, though, was actually a painful experience, because I really wanted to make something great and it fell apart completely. You don’t get into this business because you want to make stuff that’s so bad it’s good. Well, perhaps Tommy Wiseau. [Laughs.]