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Nicholas Hoult Has ‘Been Working Out’ to Play Lex Luthor in James Gunn’s ‘Superman,’ Taking Inspiration From ‘All-Star Superman’ Comic

Lex Luthor met Lex Luthor as Nicholas Hoult was the latest guest on the “Inside of You” podcast with host Michael Rosenbaum. Hoult is taking on the role of Lex Luthor in James Gunn’s upcoming “Superman,” which is now filming in Atlanta. Rosenbaum spent seven seasons playing a younger version of the villain on “Smallville.” Hoult revealed that Rosenbaum’s Lex was the first Lex he ever saw on screen, as he watched “Smallville” long before getting a look at Gene Hackman’s Lex in Richard Donner’s “Superman” movies.

“The first ever Lex I saw was you. I grew up and ‘Smallville’ was on. I was 11 or 12,” Hoult said. “That was the show I would watch, and it was the first iterations I would see of Superman and Lex and all those stories. I love your portrayal. Are you kidding me? It’s the best.”

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Hoult appeared on the “Inside of You” podcast a few weeks before filming got underway on James Gunn’s “Superman.” He still had a head of hair at the time and confirmed he would be going bald to play Lex.

“Yes, I’m shaving my head,” Hoult said. “I was thinking of letting my boys shave it for me and just giving them a pair of clippers.”

A cast photo released by James Gunn a few weeks later confirmed that Hoult had shaved his head. The actor told Rosenbaum that he was also working out to play Lex, although a muscular version of the Superman villain might not be what comes to mind for fans.

“I have been working out. There’s that bit in ‘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 a fuel for the fire.”

“All-Star Superman” was a 12-issue comic book series that ran from November 2005 to October 2008. The story centers on Superman being overexposed to the sun and making peace with the world as he believes his death is imminent. It’s unknown at this time whether or not “All-Star Superman” inspired Gunn’s “Superman” script, although a photo from the comic book series did appear when Gunn originally announced the movie last year.

Hoult added that he instantly felt connected to Gunn during the audition process, as the director has an “ability to keep things fun and alive and try things in the moment and, ‘Say this line. Do this! Do that!’ That’s something I really enjoy. That’s the whole process of prep for me. Be prepared as possible so when you get there you can throw it all away in the moment.”

Lex might have muscles, but Hoult said that he doesn’t think the villain will have any shirtless scenes.

Gunn’s “Superman” is set for a release on July 11, 2025, from Warner Bros. Watch Hoult’s full conversation on the “Inside of You” podcast in the video below.

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