Heard that name before? I hadn’t until the news broke that he’s been cast as Superman in the new Zack Snyder/Christopher Nolan reboot of the franchise, tentatively titled Superman: The Man of Steel. If you look him up on IMDB, you’ll find that he’s got a short list of credits, mostly roles in period pieces, and none of them terribly noteworthy. His highest-profile gig was as Charles Brandon on Showtime’s The Tudors.
Cavill stands 6’1″, sports a profoundly square jaw and piercing green eyes, and is a mere 28 years old. Warner Bros. reportedly thinks very highly of him, believing he has a strong screen presence (not to mention a suitably burly physique).
This may surprise you: he’s British.
Then again, so is Christian Bale, and he pulls off a convincing Bruce Wayne/Batman. Superman is more of a definitively American hero and icon, but I have faith in Nolan. Interesting fact: Henry Cavill auditioned for the role of Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins.
Considering the incredible lengths that Warner Bros. and Bryan Singer went to to find their hero for Superman Returns, this announcement seems to have come considerably quicker and easier. Why? I think a big part of the reason is that Singer was obsessed with finding a successor not for Superman, but for Christopher Reeve. That was why he settled on Brandon Routh. Zack Snyder is making a different kind of movie, updating Superman for contemporary audiences, giving him a more modern sensibility rather than the “classic” feel of Reeves and Routh. And remember who’s producing this thing: Christopher Nolan. He chose a method actor (Christian Bale) when casting his Bruce Wayne, so I think we can expect equally serious acting chops from Henry Cavill.
One thing’s for certain: this won’t be business-as-usual for our favorite Kryptonian. I think we’re going to see a whole new take on the character. And given how stale Supes got at the box office over the years (and that Superman Returns did nothing to help that), Clark Kent might just be due for a makeover. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not expecting a radical departure from the mythology or the suit or any of that . But I am expecting a film that has the crisp, sophisticated look and feel of modern cinema, not another throwback to the old days.
Currently, Superman: The Man of Steel is being planned for a December 2012 release, and is expected to go before cameras later this year.
Here’s a look at Cavill in action on The Tudors.
What do you think?