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Bryan Cranston addresses Lex Luthor rumours

Breaking Bad actor insists reports he will star in Batman/Superman face-off are 'news to me'.

The still officially-untitled 'Man of Steel' sequel set to bring Superman face-to-face with Batman for the first time on the big screen (until we know better, we'll keep calling it 'Batman vs. Superman') is drawing ever closer to starting production, recent reports claiming it will shoot in the "first quarter of 2014" in Detroit.

Now that we know who our new Batman is - Ben Affleck, in case you've been under a rock - our attention naturally shifts to the other members of the DC superhero universe who may appear, the most notable of these at present being Superman's arch nemesis, the evil genius Lex Luthor.

With Batman pretty much every actor in Hollywood aged between 35 and 50 was name-checked for the role, but with Luthor there seems to be no virtually competition whatsoever.

The one name that keeps coming up is Bryan Cranston, star of TV's 'Breaking Bad,' who has subsequently made ripples in Hollywood with roles in the likes of 'Drive,' 'Argo' and the 'Total Recall' remake (though to some he may still be best known for his somewhat different role as the hapless father of TV's 'Malcolm in the Middle').

[Batman/Superman movie will shoot in Detroit]

Even so, nothing 100% official has been said on the matter by either the actor or the producers of the 'Man of Steel' follow-up. Now, in an interview with Boston.com, Cranston has spoken out on the matter - and it might not be what fans want to hear.

Asked whether there was truth to the claims he had signed up for as many as six DC movies, Cranston replied: "Six? This is all news to me. I think that maybe my name is bandied about because I'm known to be bald. 'What bald guy can we get?' The reality is they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him."

Cranston is currently in Boston doing a play, after which he is set to direct an episode of TV series 'Modern Family' - but beyond this, the actor plans only to "relax the rest of the year. There's some irons in the fire, things that people are talking about, but nothing is set."

Might the Batman/Superman movie be one of those irons in the fire? After all, it's not set to shoot until early 2014, so technically Cranston could indeed take the rest of the year off before starting work on it...

[Ben Affleck could direct Justice League as part of Batman deal]

So, do we take this as an outright denial, or a business-smart actor knowing better than to say too much before the ink is dry? Who can say right now; perhaps Cranston will be Luthor after all, or perhaps Zack Snyder and co are still weighing up their options. Time will tell, as ever. And in the meantime, we can keep pondering whether there's any truth to murmurs that Batman's own arch-nemesis The Joker might also make an appearance, and if so just which actor would be right to follow on from the late Heath Ledger.

Lex Luthor was previously portrayed by Gene Hackman in the Christopher Reeve movies of the 70s/80s, John Shea in TV's 'The New Adventures of Superman' in the 1990s, and most recently Kevin Spacey in 2006's 'Superman Returns.'

Ben Bussey is an editor of horror website Brutal As Hell, holds an MA in Cult Film & TV from Brunel University, and to his eternal shame he has yet to see a single episode of 'Breaking Bad' - but even so, he has not doubt Bryan Cranston would make a great Lex Luthor.

More from this contributor:

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Michael Keaton: Batfleck is "gonna be great"

Green Lantern - was it really all that bad?

The Batman vs. Superman movie that almost happened in 2002