‘Superman’ Star Nicholas Hoult Talks Beefing Up to Play Lex Luthor


Mad Max: Fury Road star Nicholas Hoult is preparing to begin shooting his next action movie, playing Lex Luthor in James Gunn’s upcoming Superman reboot for DC and Warner Bros. Hoult discussed with fellow actor Michael Rosenbaum (Urban Legend, Bringing Down the House) how he prepared to take on the role of Superman’s iconic antagonist on Inside of You with Michael Rosenbaum.

Hoult, who broke out as a child star in About a Boy (2002), has never properly bulked up for a role before Superman. Even in Fury Road, a highly physical role in which he played War Boy Nux, Hoult remained relatively reedy. But he wanted to do something drastically different for his take on the role of Luthor.

“There’s that bit in [the comic book series] All-Star Superman where he talks about his muscles being real and hard work and all that,” Hoult said. “I kind of took that as a little bit of fuel for the fire.”

However, Hoult reported that his fitness regimen would serve largely as private preparation for the character, rather than on-screen muscle. The actor surmises Luthor won’t have any shirtless scenes in Gunn’s movie, and it remains unclear exactly how much action he’ll shoulder in the movie.

Coincidentally, Rosenbaum also played Luthor on 156 episodes of the TV series Smallville. He and Hoult commiserated over their respective takes on the iconic character, though Hoult admitted what he could say at this point was limited.

“I was thinking on the way here, it would be fun if we had another chat later down the road after [the movie comes out] where we could break it apart in more of a fun way,” Hoult said, before joking: “And I’ll be like, ‘Boy, I really cocked that up. Please can I come [back] on the show? I can explain!”

Rosenbaum told Hoult that he’d better avoid watching his Smallville performance for inspiration, jokingly dismissing his work on the WB series as “rubbish” and “over-the-top.” But he became serious when offering Hoult advice on how to deal with the inevitable controversy the role will bring.

“It was easier for me because there wasn’t really social media when I was doing (Smallville),” Rosenbaum said. “I didn’t have to deal with all the people, but if you start to listen to all of it, it’s just not healthy,” he told Hoult, before encouraging him, “You know what you’re doing. You’re a super-talented guy. I have no worries at all.”

James Gunn’s revitalized Superman, starring David Corenswet as the eponymous hero, is set to hit cinemas on July 11, 2025. You can watch Hoult’s full conversation with Rosenbaum below.

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