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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Henry On Being Called A Sex Symbol, Working With Woody Allen, Strong Male Friendships

As you probably know if you followed our Man of Steel promo coverage, Henry was supposed to go to Brazil ahead of the film's release there this past Friday. Unfortunately riots in that country forced Warner Bros. to cancel that visit. Henry however did talk to some Brazilian media during the L.A. junket last month. This is one of those interviews, with El Hombre, and it's pretty great. Mind you it's the google translate version (which we've tweaked a bit), but you can pretty much get what he said on everything from The Tudors costar Jonathan Rhys Meyers, to working with Woody Allen. Some bits in the intro are a bit dated, but the interview itself is new. Enjoy!

Photo: GQ UK

"There is a sense of isolation and precaution to him, even though very powerful"

LOS ANGELES - There is a certain honor in an English man's power to play Superman. After all, this is the ultimate American superhero, much revered in American cultural mythology than Batman, Spiderman or any other legend. But Henry Cavill is more than ready to accept the challenge in Man of Steel, the long-awaited reboot of the franchise's cinematic Superman, which arrives in Brazilian theaters today.

"It's my chance to show what I can do," Cavill tells El Hombre. "It is the modernization of an iconic character and I am very proud and excited to have been chosen. We make Superman more realistic, giving him a greater emotional context and explaining the lonelier side of his life despite being the amazing creature that he is. It is a wonderful opportunity to be part of this legacy."

Directed by Zack Snyder ( 300, Watchmen), Man of Steel is the most serious attempt to bring new life to Superman. The misunderstood Bryan Singer film, Superman - The Return, buried for many the chances of a franchise (the film's star, Brandon Routh, entered TV purgatory) and there was a general feeling that the public preferred the gloomy scenario offered by the Batman movies made ​​by Christopher Nolan. But Man of Steel could muster a cast starring - Amy Adams (Lois Lane), Kevin Costner (Jonathan Kent), Diane Lane (Martha Kent), Russell Crowe (Jor-El) and Michael Shannon (General Zod) - and the film seems be ready to re-establish a franchise of films more serious and darker than the original starring the late Christopher Reeve.

Cavill, who turned 30 on May 5, underwent a complete physical transformation to play Superman, with a more streamlined and modern uniform. Born in Jersey Island, son of Colin and Marianne Cavill, Henry is the second youngest of five brothers. His father served in the Navy before becoming a stockbroker. Piers, the eldest son, also went into the army, while Nick is a major in the Royal Navy. Simon works in the financial industry and Charlie, the youngest, works in marketing. Henry was to join the army when the attraction for action seemed too strong. After leaving Jersey at age 13 to study at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire, Cavill became interested in theater while simultaneously shared his love for rugby and passion for Egyptology.

His career began to take shape with a small role in the remake of The Count of Monte Cristo, starring Guy Pearce, in 2002, before gaining greater recognition by interpreting Charles Brandon in the acclaimed television series The Tudors, starring Jonathan Rhys Meyes . Recently he starred in Immortals, in 2011, and The Cold Light of Day in 2012. Cavill is also known for his campaign as the spokesman for Dunhill. He lives in London's South Kensington neighborhood.

Henry, do you feel a lot of pressure for playing the new Superman?

There is of course a great sense of responsibility to do justice to the role. Many talented people worked on this film and wanted to make sure it would bring a performance at my highest level. The key is to do justice to the role and help add those emotional layers that define the character and make it attractive to the public. It has been interesting to bring my own interpretation.

What is your vision for Clark Kent?

I tried to feel like a stranger with extraordinary abilities that differentiate and separate you from everyone, even the fathers who created you. There is a sense of isolation and precaution, even for being very powerful. He is someone who really wants to do the right thing and accepts this responsibility seriously.

What changes had to be made to make Superman more relevant in the current market?

The previous films and TV series represented their time better. Today's audiences have different expectations and try to be more realistic and less light. We needed to create a more complex psychological side to the character, with more urgency and reflective of what's happening today. This is a Superman for the current generation.

Some observers suggested that Superman is too nice to be interesting.

If you read the first comic you will see that there are many layers and levels of conflict in relation to his personality. Despite being a good man, he also has problems with trying to maintain his identity and also about his identity being revealed. So there are many different elements of his nature and personality that add depth and interest to it.

When you were growing up, you were overweight and often teased by other children. Does it help you understand what is to be an "outsider" and not fit into a group?

Probably. Children can be very cruel and I was fat, it was sometimes hard to deal with. But these experiences make you more determined to change your life and the way people see you, and I sure was more determined to prove myself. You just learn to be more tough and durable. But my family supported me a lot. My parents always taught me to move on and not worry about problems or disappointments. My mother is a very strong woman who gave my brothers and me a sense of warmth and security. I am very grateful to her for that.

Legend says you were supposed to have played in Superman Returns in 2006.

For some reason it did not work, and the experience left me frustrated. As an actor, you cannot get every role. But you cannot afford to get stuck in what did not work - you have to learn from the experience and move on. It will better prepare you for the hard work you have to put into the next role you do get, and the one after that. Failures are part of life, and each of them should make you challenge yourself and become stronger and better as an individual. Everything I have achieved in my career reflects believing in myself.

You've played some very interesting roles in the past, The Tudors, Immortals...

Surely my interest in fiction and history made me seek this type of role. When I was a kid I read a book of short stories about Greek mythology and since then I became a student of antiquity. My imagination is full of these tales of epic battles, acts of heroism and the rise and decay of the Roman Empire. All this helped me as an actor and on projects that interested me.

How did working on The Tudors fuel your imagination?

It was very exciting! There were so many things happening, so many intrigues, sex and violence - was all full of history that fed you. It was also amazing to bring the friendship between Charles and the King to life. They were friends since they were young and had a great affection for each other, but that affection did not go beyond being partners. Why can men no longer be best friends? This is so stupid. Today if you show two guys being best friends they end up giving out an image that they're gay. But guys don't always need to be drinking beer, fighting in pubs or pulling women by the hair. They may have a deep affection.

What was your impression of Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

He's very, very cool. Has a heart of gold, very friendly. You know, we always have our moments on a set - sometimes we're in a bad mood, sometimes not. But he really has a heart of gold.

In The Tudors, you had many sex scenes. How do you approach these scenes?
With great intensity! sex in The Tudors was full of passion. As an actor, when you're working and doing romantic scenes, you try and bring your feelings as much as possible. But at the same time you're acting. There are other things going on in your head when usually in these situations, the only thing that goes on in your head is the person with whom you are with... at least, that's what I hope!

Many forget that you also worked with Woody Allen in Whatever Works. How was that experience like?

It was fantastic. Had heard many scary stories about him before filming. I was naturally nervous, but I discovered that it is actually the opposite. He communicates his ideas in a very exact and accurate to the actors. It was very pleasant to work with. His style was also very different, so I had to leave my comfort zone. He tends to shoot in a hyper-realistic manner: the dialogues are very colloquial and instinctive. In a scene of four pages usually you would sweat, because if you mess up your speech, you'll have to do the whole scene again. With Woody, no. You can move on from that line of reasoning within the script, of course. So it was definitely a different experience and very enjoyable.

He is admittedly reluctant to talk with his actors much, preferring to let them follow their own instincts. What kind of directions did Woody give you?

I remember he always told me before filming: "I know there's a lot of dialogue in this scene, so if you forget your lines, improvise, as long as you go in the same direction." It's great. It usually gives you freedom, since the intention is to stay realistic. I think that's what he's brilliant, to be a window into the real life. So yes, it allows you to be free.

There are a lot of expectations for Man of Steel. Can you imagine how it will affect you?

Maybe I have to isolate myself in a new Fortress of Solitude, but I think it will be fine! I like this industry and I'm happy with everything that has happened in my life. I'm excited.

Are you gonna enjoy being the new sex symbol?

It won't make any difference to me. It's flattering to get attention and if you're an actor, that kind of talk means that the audience is following you and this will help you get the best roles. This is the kind of challenge that I want, to work with the best directors and actors and see how it goes.

Photo: GQ UK 


  1. Very nice interview. Thanks for posting it. Everytime I read or hear or see and interview of Henry, it just solidifies even further why so many are drawn to him and how respectable and special he really his. He's a wonderful actor and seems to be an amazing person as well.

  2. Henry seems to be a very down-to-earth person! But Henry get ready there are a lot of fans waiting for you!! :)

  3. I've seen a lot of hatred towards Henry in the last couple of days due to that grocery shopping thing. Does it mean that Henry is a less talented actor then? Definitely no!! Does it mean that these people won't watch any of his films anymore? I highly doubt that! I don't think that any of us knows Henry personally (which is unfortunate). Why do people want to condemn him?

    I hope this site if free from all kinds of hatred! I so I'll stay!

  4. I am a guy and I love him for what he is, he is friendly, kindhearted, honest, modest, I think he makes a wonderful friend for anyone he cares about, he is absolutely adorable

  5. I enjoyed Henry in the Tudors. His personal warmth and kindness came through. I also love that he is a protector of animals. Continued success in your career Henry.


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