The casting of Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor in The CW’s “Supergirl” raised some eyebrows. It’s an odd choice within the context of the show’s narrative given the actor’s age, but in the context of the franchise itself it’s an enjoyable in-joke.
Cryer famously played Lenny Luthor, the snivelling nephew of Lex Luthor (Gene Hackman) in the widely disparaged 80s film “Superman IV: A Quest For Peace” which almost killed the superhero genre. “Supergirl” in the past has had no issues acknowledging old DC adaptations with actors like Dean Cain, Teri Hatcher, Helen Slater and Lynda Carter all popping up.
So how in on the fun is Cryer? Turns out it’s one of the central reasons he’s taking on the role. He tells The Live Feed:
“Part of the reason I did Superman IV was because [Superman] changed my life. I was like 14-years-old and [Superman’s] tagline was, ‘You will believe a man can fly,’ and boy, I bought it! I totally bought it. Superman IV had really high hopes, but unfortunately, it was very disappointing for people and that had always sort of hurt me in a very 14-year-old boy way. And so I thought, you know, this is my chance to do it right.
I had a certain amount of familiarity [with the show]. I was very excited about working with Katie McGrath and I love the whole story that they’ve set up for this season. Yeah, I felt like Lenny [was] a branch on the family tree that fell off pretty early and was rotting on the ground basically for a long while…So I feel like this was my chance to sort of reclaim it and do it a little more justice, or injustice, as it were.”
Cryer will appear in three episodes this season – he’ll make his debut in the role on this Sunday’s episode. Next Sunday’s will be a long flashback episode showing what he’s been up to in the last few years, and then he’ll appear again in the season finale.