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Superman: Legacy: David Corenswet and Rachel Brosnahan to Play Clark Kent and Lois Lane for James Gunn

After weeks of rumors and leaks from the audition and screen testing process, director James Gunn, his DC Studios co-CEO Peter Safran, and Warner Bros. have found their Clark Kent and Lois Lane for Superman: Legacy — David Corenswet (Pearl) and Rachel Brosnahan (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel).

Corenswet was one of three finalists for the role alongside Brits Tom Brittney and Nicholas Hoult, and sources say it came down to Brittney and Corenswet, with social media firmly on the latter’s side. The actor tested for the role wearing Superman’s iconic costume, and he was initially paired with rising actress and Margot Robbie-lookalike Emma Mackey, who appears to have been the runner-up for the role of Lois Lane. Phoebe Dynevor also made it to the screen test stage, which took place over two days during Father’s Day weekend.

Though Brosnahan is a little bit older than the other actors who screen-tested and is perceived as more of a TV star compared to Mackey, who will soon be seen in WB’s Barbie movie, sources say she delivered the best audition tape of any actor — male or female.

Corenswet and Brosnahan and their respective teams were notified on Monday night once Warner Bros. Discovery boss David Zaslav signed off on the decision. Gunn and Safran were extremely tight-lipped about their own preferences while soliciting objective opinions from WB execs whose input in such a decision would be valued. Warners was motivated to find its Clark and Lois this week before SAG-AFTRA’s current contract with the AMPTP expires on June 30, which is when everyone’s testing deals would’ve expired.

David Corenswet
David Corenswet in We Own This City/HBO

Corenswet had been hotly tipped for the role after being all but coronated by Twitter and TikTok, which were dominated by pro-Corenswet sentiment in the days leading up to the announcement. The actor is best known for his turn as The Projectionist opposite Mia Goth in Ti West‘s A24 movie Pearl, and he also appeared in HBO’s acclaimed crime series We Own This City as well as a pair of middling Ryan Murphy series — The Politician and Hollywood.

Sources have long acknowledged that Corenswet is more than a pretty face, but they’ve also expressed concern that he has what it takes to serve as the lynchpin of an entire cinematic universe. Of course, there were similar concerns surrounding Henry Cavill, but he was paired with then-three-time (now six-time) Oscar nominee Amy Adams, and he rose to the occasion and held his own. Brosnahan, who won an Emmy early in her career for The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, will no doubt push Corenswet in similar fashion.

The fact that Corenswet is American likely worked to his advantage, and while some were worried that his striking resemblance to Henry Cavill could be a mark against him as Gunn sets out to visually differentiate the DCU from the DCEU that preceded it, I’m told the director had no problem with that resemblance. 

Corenswet is a little too pretty — Gunn’s typical protagonists have a little edge to them — but then again, he had the internet on his side, and Gunn clearly cares about social media sentiment given the amount of time he spends on Twitter and Blue Sky. This is a win as far as the fans are concerned, as they’ll likely feel that the studio listened to them and be more invested in Corenswet’s Superman — and the larger DCU — as a result. Corenswet is also half-Jewish, and identifies as Jewish, which is a nice nod to Superman’s creators, writer Jerry Siegel and illustrator Joe Shuster, both of whom were Jewish.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel/Prime Video

Hoult, of course, was never quite right for Superman, and while he is said to have pulled out of the running for Lex Luthor in order to pursue the role of Clark Kent, I wouldn’t be surprised if Gunn brought him back and asked him to reconsider — unless WB would prefer that he play the DCU’s Batman, a character that he’s much better suited for, and one that he missed out on a few years ago, losing the role in Matt Reeves‘ trilogy to Robert Pattinson.

Hoult nearly played the villain in this summer’s Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part 1, which would seem to suggest a certain willingness to explore his dark side, so we’ll see if there are any hard feelings between the actor’s camp and Gunn for passing him over. I suspect he won’t hold a grudge, but if the actor does decide to pivot away from blockbusters and turn his focus elsewhere, he’ll find himself in high demand following the success of both The Great and The Menu.

Meanwhile, Bill Skarsgard, who was initially rumored to be sought for The Brave and the Bold, even before it was announced that his It director Andy Muschietti would direct that DCU movie, is said to be high on Gunn’s list for Lex Luthor, though his brother Alexander Skarsgard is also said to be a possibility. Gunn hasn’t addressed the casting of Lex, though he did call Corenswet and Brosnahan “incredible actors, but also wonderful people” in a Twitter post confirming today’s news.

If SAG-AFTRA does strike, it’s unclear whether Corenswet and Brosnahan would appear at Comic-Con for promotional purposes, which would obviously be Gunn’s preference. DC Studios has yet to confirm a Hall H presentation, as the Comic-Con schedule doesn’t come out until next week, though many expect Gunn and Safran to attend, if only to stump for the upcoming DC movies Blue Beetle and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom which were made by the prior regime.

Warner Bros. is slated to release Superman: Legacy worldwide — and launch the new DCU, for all intents and purposes — on July 11, 2025.



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