Despite his best efforts, actor Nicholas Hoult has now been rejected for DC’s two biggest superhero roles.
As newly-appointed DC Studios CEO James Gunn, sets off to create his own DCU, a whole swath of new names are set to be unveiled to play the super-powered universe’s cast of costumed characters.
The latest of these (and the biggest to this point) made waves recently, as it was finally revealed that David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan would be playing Superman and Lois Lane in the upcoming Superman: Legacy.
Corenswet and Brosnahan beat out several actors gunning for the iconic parts including X-Men: First Class star Nicholas Hoult and Barbie‘s Emma Mackey.
Nicholas Hoult Misses on Two DC Roles
After not getting the titular role in Superman: Legacy in the upcoming DCU reboot led by James Gunn and Peter Safran, actor Nicholas Hoult has been rejected for both Batman and Superman (aka two of DC’s biggest superheroes).
The Renfield star was one of three names reported to have been in talks and made it to the screentest stage to play DC’s iconic Kryptonian in the upcoming DCU – the other two being David Corenswet and Tom Brittney.
Hoult made it to the final three names attached to play Superman, having been a part of a number of auditions and screentests for the role, including one opposite the newly announced Lois Lane actress Rachel Brosnahan.
Despite not getting the role as DC’s new Man of Steel, he has been reported to have been considered to play the DCU’s take on iconic comic villain Lex Luthor.
As recently as May 2023 (via The Hollywood Reporter (THR)), Hoult was attached to the role. However, THR noted along with the casting of Corenswet and Brosnahan that it now remains unclear if Hoult is still in consideration for the bald-headed big bad, with names like Alexander and Bill Skarsgard being mentioned in his place.
Before Robert Pattinson eventually got the role, a THR report wrote that Hoult was Pattinson’s “chief rival” in the casting process. The actor had reportedly impressed Reeves with his “thought-provoking work” on films like The Favorite and the Planet of the Apes franchise.
Hoult had seemingly gotten as far as doing a costume test for the part, something that has become customary in the process of casting a new Batman/Bruce Wayne.
In April 2022 interview with GQ España (via Variety), Hoult remarked that despite these DC “disappointments,” he is still “happy” with the work he has done in his career.
He added that “of course” he would have loved the opportunity to have played Batman, but doesn’t “think I would have done as good a job as [Pattinson]:”
“I’m sure if you ask most people, they’ll tell you they’d want to portray that role. I think Matt Reeves’ ideas were fantastic and he made a brilliant movie. And I also think that Rob [Pattinson] did an amazing job with the character, and I loved seeing him in it. So I don’t think I would have done as good a job as him ultimately. I don’t think I could have fit as well into the world that Matt created as Rob did.”
The English actor lamented the “painful” feeling of hearing, “It’s not you,” but pointed to a strength of his as an actor, that he is able to “see the chosen actor doing a great job [and still] enjoy it:”
“When they tell you for the first time that it’s not you, it’s painful, but then you have to accept it as normality. I think that’s probably a strength of mine as an actor as well. I can accept that they didn’t cast me pretty well and when I see the chosen actor doing a great job, and I enjoy it, and it’s good, I’m like, ‘oh yeah, they made the right choice. They knew what they were doing.’ So it’s not like I’m sitting there like, ‘Oh, I’m not going to watch it now.’ It’s a good movie and Rob is brilliant in it.”
Will Nicholas Hoult Join the DCU?
Despite having now been turned down for both Batman and Superman, there is still a pretty solid chance Nicholas Hoult appears in some form or another in James Gunn’s reimagined DCU.
For about as long as Hoult has been rumored to be playing the franchise’s take on Superman, his name has also been mentioned alongside franchise villain Lex Luthor.
Gunn previously mentioned that there has been no confirmation from him or Warner Bros. that Lex would be appearing in Superman: Legacy.
But – even if he is not the primary villain of the DCU kick-off movie – there is just too much reporting out there to believe the character will have no involvement in the film at all, and Hoult seems like a natural fit for the role.
If he is not Lex Luthor in the blue brand’s new universe, Hoult could also finally reach his Batman dream.
Gunn and co. will eventually (if not already) start looking for an actor to play the Dark Knight in the upcoming Brave and The Bold film, and it would not be all that surprising if Hoult drew their gazes yet again.
The actor already made it far into the Batman casting process back during the development of The Batman; however, he was deemed not quite right for what Matt Reeves was cooking up.
Could he perhaps be the pick for Gunn’s take on the Caped Crusader all these years later? It might just be speculation at this point, but it is something one has to consider.
With or without Nicholas Hoult, Superman: Legacy swoops into theaters worldwide on July 11, 2025.