[Editors Note: I am pleased to welcome new contributor Diana Drumm to The Film Experience. The benefit of fresh voices? They often have subjects to opine on that we haven't run into the ground already here at TFE. Like this consideration of Jeremy Irons, late in his career. Enjoy! - Nathaniel]
Last week, the internet announced, buzzed and trounced the news of Jesse Eisenberg signing on to play Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman vs. Superman. (Insert maniacal mastermind Mark Zuckerberg joke.) Less buzzed about, but part of the same announcement, Jeremy Irons is set to play Alfred Pennyworth. Seriously. Jeremy “Scar is an unknowing introduction to masochism” Irons. Brushing aside millenial Disney hang-ups, Jeremy Irons is a glorious figure of bygone British manhood and Alfred Pennyworth is... A different sort of bygone British manhood.
Lithe yet powerful, languid yet vital, vulnerable yet undeniably masculine. As an actor, Irons’s performances take on a seductive quality, with an earnest veneer covering an implicit rascaliness or vice versa or a muddled mix of both. With a bewildered look as powerful as a forceful growl, he (his innate talent, his RSC work, his Oscar) is being wasted.
Not that he’s the first thesp to be called in as a ringer for a blockbuster (or that this is his first time on the merry-go-round -- Eragon, Beautiful Creatures, etc.)...