‘Supergirl’: Jon Cryer on Becoming Lex Luthor & How His Version Compares to the Comics

O Brother, Where Art Thou?
Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

Supergirl, aka kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), probably won’t feel very winning when Two and a Half Men alum Jon Cryer wheels into National City on March 17 for a three-part Supergirl arc as iconic villain Lex Luthor.

Having previously played the baddie’s nephew Lenny in 1987’s Superman IV: The Quest for Peace, Cryer is the latest vet of the Super-verse to visit the show.

Below, he tells us more.

How did this come about?

Jon Cryer: I got an email from [my friend] Bill Prady, the executive producer of Big Bang Theory, saying, “Somebody’s going to ask you to do a role that rhymes with Shmeck Shmuther.” Turns out, he knew [Supergirl exec producer] Jessica Queller. I thought it was a joke because I’m not the first person I’d think of to play this part. Except that I’m bald. [Laughs]

Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor (Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)

What did you think of Jessica’s pitch?

The 14-year-old comic book nerd in me got excited because it’s rare that you get to do these kinds of iconic roles and make your own version.

There are some big shoes to fill.

The definitive Lex Luthor would be Gene Hackman in the Superman movies. But in many respects, he’s not the guy from the comics.

Your Lex is closer to the comic book villain?

Absolutely. He’s an ideologue, he’s a narcissist, he’s something of a sociopath. He’s [been] in jail for mass murder.

What is his relationship with half sister Lena (Katie McGrath)?

The Luthors have an effed-up dynamic. They hate each other, but Lena is the one member of the family who still has humanity. Lex is out of prison on a furlough because he’s terribly ill and he’s approaching her for help.

Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor and Jon Cryer as Lex Luthor (Sergei Bachlakov/The CW)

Kara is having a rough time with the anti-alien sentiment. How much extra trouble is Lex?

He hates all Kryptonians and he’s the quintessential pot-stirrer. So [we’re] bringing him into a volatile situation. [My] second episode has something that will make your head explode!

Supergirl, Sundays, 8/7c, The CW