WAM! BAM! It's #Superman: #HenryCavill is the cover star for this Sunday's #StyleMensSpecial pic.twitter.com/Gm50F0O8j3— Sunday Times Style (@TheSTStyle) March 12, 2016
We are loving all the new covers, Henry Cavill!
UPDATE: And here's a first look inside (via).
Nice touch with the tease, Sunday Times. Look for the interview as soon as we get it.
UPDATE 2: Henry's revealing interview is in! -- Along with another new photo by Frederike Helwig.
We meet Hollywood hunk and #BatmanVsSuperman star #HenryCavill in today's #StyleMensSpecial https://t.co/N0PRdZQPqy pic.twitter.com/O4TDVwPdmD— Sunday Times Style (@TheSTStyle) March 13, 2016
Why Henry Cavill is more Clark Kent than Superman
He nearly joined the army, but became a movie action hero instead. Meet Henry Cavill, a shy, sensitive soul who’s more Clark Kent than Superman
I do think there’s a bit of a double standard, you know,” says Henry Cavill, with eyes all a-twinkle and manners like those of a well-brought-up head boy. “I mean, if a girl shouts something like, ‘Oi, love, fancy a shag?’ to me as I walk past, I do sometimes wonder how she’d feel if a builder said that to her. Although, of course, I wouldn’t feel physically threatened, as she might.”
And do women proposition him in the street? “Erm, well... I’ve heard some things in my time, I have to say. I’d best not say what. I don’t mind it — not unless I’m with my girlfriend and someone is being complimentary to me in order to disrespect her. People who don’t respect other people’s feelings really get my goat.”
Cavill’s is not quite the kind of conversation one expects of a big-league Hollywood actor. Instead of faux-chumminess and that transatlantic argot, you get a faintly shy-in-company chap who is basic posh, but not showily so. The 32-year-old makes good eye contact, and his accent is Channel Islands bloke with a boat, not Terry-Thomas or even Colin Firth. He uses phrases like “get my goat”, and at one point says sorry for saying “um” too often (“I must stop saying ‘um’. I do apologise.”) Even the famously muscular torso is concealed beneath a loose England rugby sweatshirt.
Big he is, though, with brazen fans and blockbuster films to prove it. Having become cinema’s latest Superman in 2013’s Man of Steel, next week he reprises the role, starring opposite Ben Affleck in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and is today sitting in a suite in the Lanesborough hotel in central London to talk about it. The film is the first to feature both Batman and Superman, and has Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, chucked in for good measure. While not a sequel to Man of Steel, it does see Cavill developing the troubled, introspective version of Superman that critics admired in the first film. “There’s plenty of opportunity to delve deep into the character, because he’s a very complex character,” Cavill says. “He’s an alien, but he’s invulnerable, so there are deep psychological issues there. You can talk about that because there’s more acceptance now of men having genuine feelings. So as Superman, I don’t have to be tough and strong, which is important.”
Does he embrace such metrosexual approaches to emotion in his own life, I wonder. The query makes him slightly tongue-tied. “Well, everyone should be entitled to their full range of emotions. Whether they display them in public or not is a different debate, but, um — sorry! — yes, the acknowledgment that people feel things is important, on both sides of the, um, sex fence.” Sex fence? “Er, yes,” he says, laughing at his clunky neologism. “It sounds like a fun place, doesn’t it? Maybe someone who puts it up is a sex fencer. And if you were Irish, you’d be a sex o’fencer.”
I steer him back to the emotion question. Is he averse to conspicuous public displays of feelings? “Yes. I mean, not all the time, there are plenty of times when I’m not that restrained, but I think there’s something to be said for a bit of decorum in one’s basic, everyday public life. Maybe that’s a very British thing, the old stiff upper lip, but I do think there’s something to be said for it.”
Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill was born in Jersey in 1983, the fourth of five boys. Father Colin had left the Royal Navy to become a stockbroker, mother Marianne worked as a secretary in a bank. The family was traditional, the brothers fiercely loyal and kept in check by their redoubtable Scots-Irish mum — “Very, very strong. Awesome, and no bullshit. She’d say, ‘Yes, OK, you scuffed your knee. Now, pull yourself together and let’s go.’”
There is a tradition of Cavill men serving in the forces — his eldest brother, Piers, is a former army officer; the second eldest, Nik, is a major in the Marines and was awarded an MBE in 2013 for his work in Afghanistan. Henry intended to study history at university on an army scholarship and then join the army himself.
School, however, didn’t quite pan out as planned. He was sent to board at Stowe, but arriving a few weeks after everyone else, he found himself isolated, as all the cliques had already formed. Painfully homesick and bullied for being overweight, he spent much of his first year crying to himself, but then “Fat Cavill” found comfort in acting. His stage career had begun inconspicuously one Christmas at prep school, when he was cast in a version of the Nativity as a grandfather recalling the story of Jesus’s birth. Everyone had complimented him on his performance, and he continued once at Stowe, where he shone. Even the boys who had picked on him thought he was fantastic — and told him so. “I thought, ‘I guess this is something I’m good at. And if I can’t be judged because I’m being someone else on stage, then great.’”
“Fat Cavill” did more school plays, and became a prefect, head of house and head of the army cadets. When he was in the lower sixth, the director Kevin Reynolds came to Stowe looking for public schoolboys to cast in his new film version of The Count of Monte Cristo. Cavill was cast as Albert, son of Guy Pearce’s Mondego, signed by American and British agents, and the offers began to roll in. His big break came in 2007, when he was cast in The Tudors as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, a highly sexed aristo who never appeared clothed unless the plot demanded it.
He had lost 1½st for The Count of Monte Cristo, and got into good shape to play Suffolk, but his torso began to acquire its own celebrity status in 2011 after he was cast as Theseus in Immortals, Tarsem Singh’s fantasy-action film. Singh told him to get shredded for the filming. “He joked he wanted an eight-pack, not six. That sort of thing isn’t in your contract — it doesn’t need to be, because they can give you muscles with CGI. But I take pride in doing it myself.” He muscled up under the tutelage of Mark Twight, a fitness expert who also trains the US military, and the frankly astonishing result undoubtedly helped him land Superman.
Amateur psychologists might see the transformation as a form of revenge on the Stowe bullies, but Cavill will have none of it. “The action-hero stuff comes from being part of a very physical family,” he says, and points out that by the time he left school, he was an army cadet and could have “thrown down” the kids if he chose. He didn’t, because “fighting put a black mark on your record and limited what you could achieve in school”.
There were plenty of disappointments in Hollywood, too. He narrowly missed out on the roles of Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, Edward Cullen in Twilight (after Stephenie Meyer personally lobbied on his behalf) and James Bond in Casino Royale. Now, with Daniel Craig’s Bond tenure coming to an end, he is happy to be spoken of as a possible successor. His Bond, he has said, would be “slightly more Sean Connery” than Craig’s — “An arrogant, cultured bastard with a talent for killing.”
But what of his girls? In the past, Cavill’s adventures on the sex fence barely troubled the gossip columns, consisting of a brief engagement to the equestrian Ellen Whitaker, an on/off-er with the actress Gina Carano, and a short dalliance with Kaley Cuoco in 2013. More recently, however, there has been some media clucking over his relationship with Tara King, a 19-year-old Bristol University student whom he met at Mahiki last year. He says he understands the criticism, but is unperturbed. “People say age is just a number,” he told one magazine last month. “A lot of times, it’s not just a number. It’s actually a real and true sign of someone’s maturity. But in this case, she’s fantastic.”
One senses that King’s non-acting-industry origins might be important. He has spoken before about women being interested in him only because he’s Superman, and feeling that he disappoints them. “The pressure that comes from dating someone in the public eye is enormous. Because that person’s fans of the opposite sex dislike you, there’s often a deep and nasty backlash, which is incredibly unfounded and unfair.”
Perhaps this is linked to his distaste for Hollywood, a place in which he spends as little time as possible, preferring his South Kensington mews house. “I love Britain, and living somewhere else feels like a betrayal,” he says towards the end of our interview, going on to describe in detail the pleasure of taking one’s family and dogs to the pub after a Sunday walk.
You can see how a normal girl from Bristol — a nice one who doesn’t ask you for a shag in the street — would fit in, and then suddenly it all makes sense. An actor playing Superman actually spends most of his time on screen as the modest and self-deprecating Clark Kent — and for that role, Henry Cavill has had a near-perfect, and thoroughly British, training.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is in cinemas on March 25
How to get a superbody
Disappointingly, Henry Cavill’s body is not always as honed and toned as it appears on screen. When he isn’t filming, he winds down his fitness regime and is about 2st heavier. To get into full condition takes a minimum of four months, he says, and that’s with the help of a good trainer. Without help, you won’t get there. There are two stages:
The fun part takes two months. You should eat huge amounts (experts suggest a daily calorie intake calculated by multiplying your body weight in pounds by 15-17) of pretty much anything that isn’t unhealthy, such as fried oils. Preparing for Man of Steel, Cavill ate lean protein, including fish with spinach and broccoli, and took a multivitamin supplement, plus Udo’s Choice for fatty acids and Natural Calm magnesium powder. Hit the gym for 1-2 hours six days a week, concentrating solely on heavy weights. Remember, sleep is vital. Cavill tries to sleep 10 hours a night when filming; his trainer believes a good night’s rest is as important as a day’s training.
After bulking up, our hero spends two months getting lean by reducing calorie intake — gradually, so as not to feel hungry — and increasing cardiovascular training while continuing with the weights. When the lifting gets hard, keep going. You should end the two months on a normal count of 2,500-3,500 calories a day. In the days before shirtless filming, when he may need to get his body fat down as low as 3% of body mass, Cavill undertakes an extreme leaning process, reducing calories to less than 2,500 while continuing with the gruelling workouts. For this, as throughout, he stresses that professional advice is essential.
Here is a look at the print copy. Thanks Sean!
New interview with #HenryCavill from Style Magazine, where he talks a bit about BVS, but a lot on body image. pic.twitter.com/r8Dr08WH1l— Sean Murphy (@ReelSeanMurphy) March 13, 2016