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Bryan Cranston to play the next Lex Luthor?

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Will Bryan Cranston be the new Lex Luthor? It was rumored last week that the “Breaking Bad” star would be playing Superman’s arch enemy opposite Henry Cavill’s Man of Steel. (And potentially his “Argo” director and costar Ben Affleck, who has signed on as Batman.) Cranston, of course, is currently hunkered down in Cambridge preparing for his first post-“Breaking Bad” role, playing President Lyndon B. Johnson in the American Repertory Theater production of “All the Way,” which begins previews Sept. 13. During a recent chat with the Globe — see the full story in Sunday Arts — Cranston (inset) was asked about essaying the bald bad guy, and he smiled. “I’ve heard that too,” he said. And what about those reports that he’s signed to play Luthor in as many as six “Man of Steel” movies? He laughed. “Six? This is all news to me. I think that maybe my name is bandied about because I’m known to be bald. ‘What bald guy can we get?’ The reality is they can take any actor and shave his head or put a bald cap on him.” Assuming he will, in fact, be Lex Luthor, we asked if Cranston would consider calling up Gene Hackman, who played Luthor in 1978’s “Superman,” for some advice. “I can just see how that phone call would go,” he said with a laugh. “‘Gene? Hi, this is Bryan Cranston.’ ‘Who? Bryan Cranston? What do you want? How did you get this number?’ ” Whether or not he faces off against Superman, one thing Cranston is definitely doing when he finishes “All the Way” is directing another episode of ABC’s “Modern Family.” Other than that, “I think I’ll relax the rest of the year. There’s some irons in the fire, things that people are talking about, but nothing is set.”

Sarah Rodman of the Globe staff contributed

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