Superman casting officially begins: Get ready for the rumors!

Producer Christopher Nolan and director Zack Snyder have begun their search for an actor to play Superman, and a few details have come out about what exactly they're looking for.

Deadline reports that the lucky actor who follows in the cinematic footsteps of Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh is likely to be not well known and will either be a completely fresh face or someone they find from TV. They expect to look at "hundreds" of actors in the age range of 28 to 32, which likely means that the campaign to put 39-year-old Mad Men star Jon Hamm in the tights is bound to meet with disappointment (that would probably also rule out another popular fan choice, Smallville's Tom Welling).

Some of the actors whose names have been floated already include Armie Hammer, who's created some buzz with his performance as the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, and Joe Manganiello, who's set female hearts racing as a sexy werewolf on HBO's True Blood. Hammer is below the age threshold at 24, while Manganiello is just above it at 34. Hammer, by the way, was also considered for the role of Batman in the aborted Justice League movie a few years ago. Another name circulating out there is Ian Somerhalder of The Vampire Diaries.

But the truth is that you should prepare to hear a ton of names mentioned between now and the actual announcement that the role has been cast, as actors are brought in to audition and their agents try to create some excitement around them.

Whoever ends up playing Clark Kent/Kal-El in the new movie, which people have been calling The Man of Steel even though it doesn't have an official title, needs to clear their schedule for most of the second half of 2011: The movie has to start shooting next June if Warner Brothers Pictures wants to continue holding onto certain rights related to the character.

So who do you think should play Superman?

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