Shazam! star Zachary Levi opens up about losing the role of Lex Luthor on Smallville. Smallville was a series that chronicled the life of a young Clark Kent, played by Tom Welling, as he learned about his Kryptonian heritage, and came to terms with his powers, to become Superman. The show would go on for 10 seasons, with Welling's Clark Kent going against Michael Rosenbaum's Lex Luthor, who went from being the young Superman's best friend, to his fiercest rival. While Rosenbaum's performance as Luthor is synonymous with the show, Levi came very close to playing the part.

Speaking at Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (via The Direct), Levi detailed the long casting process he went through to play Lex Luthor in Smallville, but which ultimately ended with him not getting the part. According to the actor, he originally auditioned for Superman, but was then asked to read for the part of Lex Luthor. The actor would then go on a long process that ended up with him auditioning to the network, and Levi thought he was a lock for the role. In the end, Rosenbaum was cast as Lex, and Levi got another DC role, years later, as Shazam. Check out the full quote below:

When it came to Smallville... I originally auditioned for Superman... Didn't get it. Wasn't meant to me, wasn't meant to be. But at the audition for Superman, they go, 'Hey listen, you did a great job. But we actually think you're more Lex Luthor. Would you mind taking a look at these sides?' And I was like, 'OK.' And I took a look and these things and I came back in and I read for Lex and they were like, 'Yeah, that's great, we're going to have you read for producers.' And I read for producers, and they're like, 'Oh my god, yeah, we're going to send you to studio test.' And I studio-tested, and then I went all the way to the network and David Nutter, who directed the pilot, I had work sessions with him, I was like, 'I'm going to be Lex Luthor!' I was convinced I was going to be cast as Lex Luthor, move to Vancouver, and shave my head. It was all happening, and then it didn't. I went all the way to network and they were like, 'Nah, not really our guy.'

Michael Rosenbaum Was The Perfect Lex Luthor For Smallville

Smallville and Lex Luthor Season 1

In most adaptations of the Superman mythos, be it comic books, animation, games, movies, or television, Lex Luthor is already portrayed as a fully realized villain, and Superman's one true rival. The character's hatred for the Man of Steel runs deep. Smallville showed how the legendary rivalry between Clark Kent and Lex Luthor came to be. The two characters met on the series when Lex accidently lost control of his speeding car and hit Clark, who then saved Luthor from drowning, as the two were sent over a bridge and into a river.

From that moment on, the characters were inseparable, for better or for worse. No one could have played Lex Luthor better than Rosenbaum did, with the actor bringing an incredible degree of nuance to the character that made audiences feel for Lex as he was constantly shut off by Clark, who chose not to reveal his powers to his friend. The feeling of betrayal would one day become too much for Lex, with the character becoming the show's true villain, in tragic fashion, as the once best friends became bitter rivals.

Rosenbaum's long tenure in the role made his Luthor a more fleshed out character than most other iterations. Throughout Smallville, the actor delivered some of Lex's most impactful monologues in all media. It is a testament to Rosenbaum's acting that he has been suggested time and time again to take on the role in DC's movie side, which could possibly happen in the future, as Rosenbaum is close friends with new DC Universe architect James Gunn. If that does not happen, Rosenbaum's excellent work as Lex Luthor on Smallville will always be there for new, and returning, fans.

Source: Zachary Levi (via The Direct)

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