henrycavillJesse Eisenberg and Jeremy Irons have joined the cast of the eagerly-anticipated film uniting comic book hunks Batman and Superman.

The Social Network star Eisenberg will appear as infamous villain Lex Luthor, while Brideshead Revisited‘s Irons will portray Batman’s confidant Albert Pennyworth – the character played by Michael Caine in the recent Dark Knight trilogy of Batman films starring Christian Bale.

The dual casting announcement was made by Warner Bros Pictures this evening (January 31). Zack Snyder, director of the currently untitled film, said in a statement: “What’s great about Lex is that he exists beyond the confines of the stereotypical nefarious villain. He’s a complicated and sophisticated character whose intellect, wealth and prominence position him as one of the few mortals able to challenge the incredible might of Superman. Having Jesse in the role allows us to explore that interesting dynamic, and also take the character in some new and unexpected directions.”

Discussing Irons’ character, the director added: “As everyone knows, Alfred is Bruce Wayne’s most trusted friend, ally and mentor, a noble guardian and father figure. He is an absolutely critical element in the intricate infrastructure that allows Bruce Wayne to transform himself into Batman. It is an honour to have such an amazingly seasoned and gifted actor as Jeremy taking on the important role of the man who mentors and guides the guarded and nearly impervious façade that encapsulates Bruce Wayne.”

Alongside Man Of Steel star Henry Cavill as Superman, Ben Affleck has been cast as Batman and Gal Gadot (The Fast & The Furious) has signed up to play Wonder Woman. Snyder is due to start shooting the superhero mash-up movie later this year.

The Batman-Superman film had been scheduled for release in cinemas on July 17, 2015, but earlier this month (January) Warner Bros announced plans to push it back and it will now arrive around nine months later on May 6, 2016.

> Click here to watch Man Of Steel star Henry Cavill working out with his top off