Superman has a father...and it's Russell Crowe? Variety is reporting that the Oscar-winning Aussie actor is in talks to play Jor-El, Superman's Kryptonian father, in Zack Snyder's upcoming "The Man of Steel."

Crowe is a big name for what may turn out to be a relatively small role in the film. 1978's "Superman" played a similar card, by casting screen legend Marlon Brando in the part. His performance from that film was also digitally inserted into 2006's "Superman Returns."

Meanwhile, Production Weekly is reporting that the role of Superman's biological mother, Lara, is being offered to Connie Nielsen, who co-starred with Russell Crowe in the 2000 best picture winner "Gladiator."

The duo would join a cast that already includes Henry Cavill ("Immortals") as the titular hero, Amy Adams ("The Fighter") as intrepid reported Lois Lane, Michael Shannon ("Revolutionary Road") as the villainous Kryptonian General Zod, and Kevin Costner ("Dances With Wolves") and Diane Lane ("Unfaithful") as Clark Kent's adoptive parents in Smallville. 

Crowe was recently seen in "The Next Three Days," and will next appear in RZA's martial arts film "The Man With the Iron Fist," alongside Lucy Liu and Rick Yune.

"Man of Steel" is being executive produced by "Dark Knight Rises" director Christopher Nolan. Snyder has previously directed "Watchmen," "300" and "Sucker Punch."

Production on the film is scheduled to start next month, with Chicago being the primary stand-in for Metropolis.

"Man of Steel" is tentatively set for a December, 2012 release.