Back in 2013 a rumor hit stating that Denzel Washington was wanted as Lex Luthor for Batman vs. Superman.
Screen Rant recently caught up with Denzel Washington and asked if there was any truth to the rumor, but Denzel says this is the first he has heard of it.
I never heard that. I’ve never heard until just now. Where’d you hear it? Oh, of course you believe everything you hear.[Laughs] No. I never I’ve never heard that until just now.
While Lex Luthor ended up being played by Jesse Eisenberg, Zack Snyder did confirm they were looking at Bryan Cranston. I was actually the one who reported Bryan Cranston was cast as Lex Luthor for Batman vs. Superman; however, when the announcement never came, I was then told Cranston turned down the role because he didn't want to play bad guys anymore (this followed his final season of Breaking Bad). From what I was told, the original Batman vs. Superman Goyer script (actually a sequel to Man of Steel) featured an older Lex Luthor, but when Bryan Cranston turned down the role of Lex Luthor they decided to come up with a young version of Lex, which is what Chris Terrio wrote (I also first said that Mercy Graves would be in Batman vs. Superman and suggested Wonder Woman would be in it as well).
"Bryan Cranston would have been great, right? And by the way, he’s an amazing actor. Can you imagine how different the movie would be?”
Since Affleck looks to be out as Batman pretty soon, back then I was also told the new Batman would have been in his second year of being a hero, with Tyler Hoechlin eyed to play him.
The DCEU also would have had Henry Cavill's Superman as the leader/focus if Man of Steel would have hit a billion and been more of a success.
What could have been, eh?