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01/31/2014 by Corinne Heller

And BAM! Warner Bros. surprises us again with not one but TWO surprise castings for the Superman and Batman movie.

Jesse Eisenberg, who was nominated for an Oscar for his role as icy Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network," will portray iconic villain Lex Luthor in Zack Snyder's untitled "Man of Steel" sequel, often referred to by fans as "Superman vs. Batman," the studio has announced.

"Lex Luthor is often considered the most notorious of Superman's rivals, his unsavory reputation preceding him since 1940," Snyder was quoted as saying in a Warner Bros. Pictures statement to OTRC.com on Friday, Jan. 31. "What's great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain."

"He's a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman," the director added. "Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions."

In addition, Oscar-winning British actor Jeremy Irons, known for portraying villains himself -- namely Scar in Disney's "The Lion King," will play Alfred, the loyal assistant of Batman, aka Bruce Wayne, the studio said.

"As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne's most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure," Snyder said. "He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman."

"It is an honor to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne."

Eisenberg and Irons joins previously-announced cast members Ben Affleck, who is playing Batman, and Israeli actress and model Gal Gadot, who will portray Wonder Woman. Henry Cavill reprises his "Man of Steel" role of Superman, while his co-stars Amy Adams, Diane Lane and Laurence Fishburne will also return. The new movie is set to hit theaters on May 6, 2015.

(Pictured above: Jesse Eisenberg talks to OTRC.com about the 2013 film 'Now You See Me,' in which he plays a magician. Click on the image to watch the video.)

Tell us what you think about the casting of Jesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons (and check out a photo of the latter actor below, seen at the 2014 SAG Awards earlier this month.)

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