Nicholas Hoult Lex Luthor
(Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Nicholas Hoult Talks James Gunn’s Superman, Inspirations for His Lex Luthor

Nicholas Hoult says Michael Rosenbaum’s performance as Lex Luthor in Smallville was a major inspiration for him in James Gunn’s Superman.

Speaking with Rosenbaum on the Inside of You podcast, via Collider, Hoult touched on how much he admires Rosenbaum’s Smallville role.

“I think the first ever Lex I saw was you,” Hoult said. “Yeah, I grew up when Smallville was on, I can’t remember if it was Channel 4 or Channel 5 in the UK, but like growing up. I was like 11, 12, I guess. And so that was like the show that I would watch and see my first iterations of Superman and Lex and all those stories. Since I’ve seen Richard Donner’smovies and all the other ones and kind of seen some of the other performances, but you’re like the one. I love [your portrayal], it’s the best.”

He added, “You inhabit him with such depth and charm. And then, yeah, that ability to switch, which makes him dangerous and formidable and a great opponent. I just loved what you did.”

Nicholas Hoult has been working out to play Lex Luthor

Regarding what he’s done to prepare for the role of Lex Luthor, Hoult also said, “I have been working out. No, you know what, there’s that bit in All-Star Superman where he talks about his muscles being real and like hard work and all that. I kind of took that as a little bit of like fuel for the fire.”

Along with Hoult, Gunn’s Superman — which will be the first feature film in Gunn and Peter Safran’s DCU — stars David Corenswet as the Man of Steel, Rachel Brosnahan as Lois Lane, Terence Rosemore as Otis, Skyler Gisondo as Jimmy Olsen, Anthony Carrigan as Metamorpho, María Gabriela de Faría as The Engineer, Nathan Fillion as Guy Gardner, Isabela Merced as Hawkgirl, Sara Sampaio as Eve Teschmacher, and Edi Gathegi as Mister Terrific.

Superman releases in theaters on July 11, 2025.