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Lex Appeal

by: Dave Gordon - Last updated: 2003-10-05

Michael Rosenbaum

Smallville star Michael Rosenbaum

The story of Superman has always been bereft of an urbane, charming, good-looking character - except for now. Michael Rosenbaum, aka "Lex Luthor" stars in TV's Smallville, the hit show that is set during Clark Kent's high school days. But the producers of the show have taken a few creative liberties. Lex is also a nice guy.

Born in Oceanside, New York and raised in Newburgh, Indiana, Rosenbaum found acting work in New York after finishing his degree in mass communications and theater from Western Kentucky University.

His first big break was when he landed a regular series role on The WB comedy series The Tom Show (1997), with Tom Arnold.

Rosenbaum has done some off-Broadway productions and independent films, and later had regular stints on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in a sketch called The Amsterdam Kids.

But not content to just play Lex Luthor, he loves to challenge himself, taking on new projects to diversify his career. Earlier this year, Rosenbaum starred in the film Bringing Down the House opposite Steve Martin.

Martin and Rosenbaum played competing lawyers, while Martin's character meets a strange match in an internet chatroom (Queen Latifah).

"I was nervous working with him. Working with the big boys. He's brilliant; very kind," he says of Martin.
Rosenbaum says that when he's nervous during shoots he hums songs from the 70s and 80s. During the Bringing Down the House shoot, Rosenbaum was singing to himself the Chicago song "If You Leave Me Now". To his surprise, Steve Martin jumped in unexpectedly and sung along, and they hit it off right away. "You're really funny," Martin told Rosenbaum. To this, Rosenbaum replied, "My career can end right now. I don't know what to say." Steve Martin then said: "Don't say anything. You don't have to."

Other film credits of Rosenbaum's include Sorority Boys and Sweet November (with Keanu Reeves). He also starred in the thriller Urban Legend and appeared in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, directed by Clint Eastwood and starring Kevin Spacey.

One film, yet to be released in the UK is Poolhall Junkies, filmed in Salt Lake City, Utah.

So, what's a nice Jewish boy doing in Mormon-country? "Keeping his yarmulke in his pocket," he jests.

While in Utah, Rosenbaum enjoyed shopping at thrift stores and vintage shops. He says he spent his days at pool halls "doing nothing," and watching the World Series in his hotel room with some friends. "What else is there to do in Utah?"

Poolhall Junkies also stars Chazz Palminteri, the late Rod Steiger, and Christopher Walken.
"It's a nice independent gritty dark film," he says. "It's like The Hustler meets Swingers."

Rosenbaum plays Danny Doyle, who looks up to his older brother, an experienced pool shark. "Of course, he has to prove himself and it means finally proving his independence."

For now, the Smallville star knows most people associate him with his role as Lex Luthor, the bald future villain. What would Rosenbaum do if he were Superman? A little bit of his “inner” Lex Luthor is revealed:

"I'd probably fly to every state and visit friends. I'd pick up women, check out the Nile and then the Eiffel Tower. I'd see what I can do to enemies I had in high school. I'd just do super bad things, like rip someone's wheels off a car."

First published in Afterword , the home of Canada's only Jewish student newspaper