“This character matters so much to so many people. I want to get that right. I want to do it justice. I want people to believe in the character and have faith in the character and kids to grow up wanting to be Superman. Or, God forbid, there are people who are going through hardship and wishing that this character would turn up and save them.”
Henry Cavill’s acting career started back in 2001, and while he had some notable roles throughout the years, such as in 2007’s Stardust and 2011’s Immortals, let’s be real here, he really hit it big when he got the nod to play our old pal Superman. But what do we really know about the man under the cape? Can he really run faster than a speeding bullet? Is he really more powerful than a locomotive? Probably not, but there’s still a whole lot interesting about Henry Cavill. Read on for 26 super facts about the man who plays everyone’s favorite superhero, Superman. We promise no mustaches were CGIed out in the making of this list.
Henry Cavill Facts
26. Unfortunate Title
Cavill surprisingly unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Superman… in 2006’s Superman Returns, losing out to Brandon Routh (remember him?). On top of that, he also tried out for a role in Harry Potter to no avail. His lack of success with these roles and others, like James Bond, led Empire magazine to dub him the “unluckiest man in Hollywood.” But he wasn’t one to get discouraged, and he’s said that he drew motivation from the roles he almost got, realizing that coming so close to getting roles like James Bond and Superman meant that he “should keep on pluggin’.” Well, it looks like his luck has turned around since then, so maybe he was on to something.
While Cavill has said that he’s hesitant to give anyone advice unless it’s asked for, he has given young men at least one nugget of knowledge to take with them: “Stop looking to get laid, and look more for someone who can make you the better version of you in a good, happy way.” Spoken like Superman himself, though I’ve gotta say Henry, not all of us look like you.
22. Canine Cavill
While in pre-production for Batman v Superman, Cavill decided that he’d get a dog—why not? He definitely had a pretty good payday coming. He ended up selecting an American Akita, and when it came to naming the pooch, he decided to honor the character he was about to play—his dog is named Kal-El, who quickly became an internet sensation. I maybe would have gone with Krypto the Superdog, but I guess Kal is pretty good too.
21. No Marvel v. DC
While the Marvel vs. DC fan wars are all too familiar to some people, Cavill was fortunate to grow up without knowledge of the rivalry. “I didn’t grow up in either in particular… I didn’t really know there was a difference. To be honest—I’m not really sure if there is now.” Careful Henry, these people take this very seriously and I wouldn’t risk poking the bear if I were you.
Superman has been seen as an all-American superhero for decades, so it raised more than a few eyebrows when the British Cavill landed the role. But while Cavill might have attracted some attention for being a British Superman, the man himself has dismissed the relevance of his nationality in regard to playing the hero. As Cavill says, Superman is a universal character, “…he’s American, but he’s not necessarily just for Americans.” Also, lest we forget, Superman’s creator is Canadian.
19. Real Hero
Though he happened to make it big in the world of movies, Cavill was aware that his chances of success weren’t exactly great, so he made sure to have a plan b; if the acting thing didn’t work out, he likely would have pursued a career in the British Armed Forces.
18. Make it Rain
Man of Steel netted Cavill a $14 million payday, which included bonuses for box-office performance. Not too shabby, Hank—drinks on you?
Leading up to Man of Steel, Cavill researched Superman by reading up on the character’s comic mythos. However, he’s admitted that he stuck mostly to the newer comics, such as Death of Superman, Return of Superman and Red Son.
16. Glutton for Punishment
To make sure that he could live up to the role, Cavill started getting in shape for Man of Steel five months before filming started. But it’s not easy becoming Superman—at one point, he was consuming 5,000-6,000 calories a day to keep up with the workouts. So at least Superman and I have one thing in common…
15. The Grind
While training for Man of Steel, Cavill was able to hit a personal record of 435 pounds for his deadlift, compared to a previous record that didn’t exceed 300 pounds.
14. Hot Commodity
Author Stephenie Meyer wanted Cavill to play Edward in the film adaptation of Twilight, mainly due to his role in The Count of Monte Cristo: “Indisputably the hardest character to cast, Edward is also the one that I’m most passionately decided upon. The only actor I’ve ever seen who I think could come close to pulling off Edward Cullen is Henry Cavill.” However, by the time the film was actually underway, Cavill was deemed too old to play a 17-year-old.
13. Work in Progress
Cavill admits that he was heavier as a child, and was known as “Fat Cavill” by some of the crueler kids in the neighborhood, and he was often bullied for his “spare rolls” as a teenager. He said he remained overweight until he had to lose twenty-one pounds for his role in The Count of Monte Cristo. So there’s hope for all of us!
Although he doesn’t fit the typical mold, Cavill is an avid World of Warcraft player. He was actually playing WOW when director Zack Snyder called to offer him the role of Superman. Cavill was in the zone and actually missed a few of Snyder’s calls before he finally picked up. Hey, when you’re deep in a raid, doesn’t matter who’s on the phone, amirite?
11. I am Your Father
Cavill actually met his Man of Steel on-screen father, Russell Crowe, back when he was at boarding school. Crowe was on campus filming Proof of Life and Cavill took the initiative to introduce himself and try to get advice on acting. Whatever Crowe told him, must have been some solid advice.
Signet rings typically feature a family crest or coat of arms, as is the case with Cavill, who famously wears one. In fact, the signet ring sported by his character in The Man from U.N.C.L.E was Cavill’s idea, but the design is different to the one Cavill wears in real life.
9. Dream Role
Most people have a dream job, and actors aren’t immune to that either. When asked about his most coveted role, Cavill revealed that he has always had a “soft spot for Alexander the Great.”
8. Too Cool for School
Plenty of talented actors have backgrounds devoid of formal education, and this fact isn’t lost on Cavill. As Cavill says, “acting is an intangible skill in which you reach into a bag when action happens and you really hope a performance comes out.”
7. The End of the Tunnel
While filming an aerial helicopter scene for Mission Impossible: Fallout, Cavill’s steel nerves gave way for a few moments, leading him to think the stunt could mark the end of his life: “I thought at one point, ‘Ah, this is how I go, but at least I will have been killed by Tom Cruise and it will definitely make the papers.’” True enough, there are probably worse ways to go.
6. What Football?
Cavill is an avid fan of rugby, and he’s a season ticket holder for his hometown Jersey Rugby Football Club, though I have a feeling his schedule makes it a little hard to make it to all the games.
5. Stache Problems
Cavill’s role in Mission Impossible: Fallout required him to grow some decorations above his lip. However, this became a problem when Justice League required reshoots. Warner Bros. (the studio for Justice League) asked Paramount (the studio for MI: Fallout) if Cavill could shave the mustache. The answer was a firm no, so the team behind Justice League had to digitally remove the stache, resulting in widely publicized criticism of a CGI Superman face.
4. Shaken, not Stirred
Cavill has stated that he’s interested in playing James Bond. While he likes Daniel Craig’s portrayal of Bond, he would want to take the character in a more classic direction so that he doesn’t try to “outdo Daniel Craig at doing Daniel Craig’s Bond.” Cavill also admits he auditioned for the role in Casino Royale. If he ever gets the role, that’s just unfair, because one guy shouldn’t be allowed to be both Superman and James Bond.
3. Spreading Wisdom
Believe it or not, the man who plays Superman’s Instagram has plenty of workout pictures—either pics leading up to a film or his off-season workouts. Cavill says that he wants his fans to understand that getting in shape and staying there is a long process that requires commitment, in contrast to all the quick fixes that are marketed to them. And maybe, just maybe, a little bit of him just wants to show off his rockin’ bod. Some worry he may go too far in his training sessions, though, as he’s confessed to having vomited after some of his more intense workouts.
2. Superman is Only Human
Despite portraying Superman, it’s clear that Cavill is still human. How? Well, he’s had his fair share of embarrassing moments, that’s how we know. He’s confessed that he accidentally got a little too…um…excited while filming a sex scene on The Tudors, and he hadn’t taken the proper precautions to position everything where it should be in that situation, leading to him having to apologize profusely to his co-star in the scene.
1. Worst Case of Jet Lag Ever
Mishaps occur on set, but his other most embarrassing moment is the type of nightmare that anyone could find themselves in: while staying at a hotel, Cavill was extremely jet lagged, and woke up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom. He got confused by the doors and walked bleary-eyed out into the hallway, and only realized what he’d done when the hotel door clicked shut behind him. In his confused state, he wandered around completely nude, looking for somewhere to relieve himself, and ended up on the roof of the hotel, thinking there would be an open bathroom attached to the tennis courts or pool. There wasn’t, so he had to do his business in the bushes before resigning himself to his fate and taking the elevator down to reception, still completely naked, and get someone to let him back into his room. He’s learned from the incident, and now puts a chair against his hotel room door when he sleeps so as not to repeat the mistake.
Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24