Henry Cavill on Man of Steel: I chose not to act as Superman
Tuesday 11 June 2013
British actor Henry Cavill will be making his grand Hollywood entrance as the latest big screen incarnation of the all-American superhero Superman, in director Zack Snyder's dark and gritty Man of Steel, which opens on Friday.
Cavill, 30, so far best known for 16th century TV drama The Tudors and the 2011 fantasy film Immortals, told press that he leaned on a sturdy method to portray the legendary DC Comics superhero who celebrates his 75th anniversary this month.
"I chose not to act as Superman," the actor said.
"It withdraws from the whole reality of the story. You take the experiences of the guy, his fears of the future, his dreams of the future and you just apply that to everything you do."
Man of Steel tells the origins story of Superman and his alter-ego Clark Kent, who was first animated into life in June 1938 by comic book artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel.
Snyder's story chooses to begin with Superman's birth on the planet Krypton, and as the last hope for his people's survival, his parents send him to Earth to escape an insurrection by General Zod, played by Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Shannon.
The film, which also stars Amy Adams as Daily Planet reporter and love interest Lois Lane, follows Superman growing up as Kent from Smallville, Kansas, and struggling to come to terms with his own super powers.
"There's something special about the character, the way he was raised, that makes him Superman," Cavill said about the character's strong values instilled in him by his farming foster parents Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane).
Man of Steel, which was produced by Christopher Nolan who directed the recent Batman The Dark Knight franchise, leans heavily on action and science-fiction as a box-office draw for studio Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc.
The studio hopes it can re-launch a new series of Superman films after its 2006 offering, Superman Returns and its leading man Brandon Routh, failed to live up to box office expectations.
Comic book franchises have been top draws in recent years with Nolan's three Batman films grossing more than $2 billion worldwide between 2005-2012, according to figures compiled by box-office tracker Boxofficemojo.com.
Walt Disney Co's Marvel studio has also scored box office hits with The Avengers and Iron Man franchises making more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.
Straight-jawed with broad shoulders, the little-known Cavill strikes a resemblance to late Superman actor Christopher Reeve, who had success as Superman on the big screen, his four Superman films grossing more than $400 million at global box offices between 1978 and 1987.
Actors Dean Cain in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Tom Welling in the CW network's Smallville also built a career playing the hero.
Cavill said he intentionally ignored the influence of past Superman performances tugging at his cape. Instead, he focused on the original comic books as his source material, creating a database of notes on the superhero.
"(The notes) just kind of became a secondary character lurking there and I just drew from that," Cavill said.
"There's not really a word for it or any way to describe playing Superman," he added. "But it's just a feeling and you've got to just channel that into the character in just minute details unconsciously and instinctively."
Another pressure point among Superman's avid and loyal fan base that Cavill had to navigate was whether a Briton could handle playing the Krypton-born and Kansas-bred American hero.
"As long as I can do it convincingly, as long as I can play an American well enough, then I'm OK with that," Cavill said, drawing a comparison to the UK's beloved film franchise on super-spy James Bond.
"I wouldn't mind if an American played Bond, as long as he's good and played the role right," Cavill added.
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awardsTheatre
Grace DentChannel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Rarest Beanie Baby bought for just £10 at car boot sale could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 2 Katie Hopkins and The Sun editor are reported to police for incitement to racial hatred following migrant boat column
- 3 Katie Hopkins has just written a piece so hateful that it might give Hitler pause – why was it published?
- 4 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
- 5 Cancel Sky at your peril: man spends 96 minutes in chat but fails to get rid of service
Britain's Got Talent 2015: RSPCA investigating Marc Metral's miming dog after cruelty complaints
Star Wars 7: George Lucas admits he hasn't seen The Force Awakens trailer
Star Wars: Rogue One trailer: Watch the teaser for the Jedi-less Death Star heist film
Avengers: Age of Ultron: 'After credits' scene leaks online
Kevin Spacey's successor at The Old Vic promises a more low-key approach
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate