We caught up with David at the premiere and asked him about Henry, the film, and his thoughts on Mission Impossible: Fallout and the recent controversy around whether or not Cavill is still playing Superman. We also asked him some questions from our premiere partner, Portal Henry Cavill Brazil (marked with a PHCB after the questions).
First off, how did that standing ovation feel after Nomis premiered at LAFF?
Amazing. Test screenings weren’t an option during post. So with the exception of a few friends and family screenings, I’d never seen it play to a proper audience. It was a relief to say the least, seeing an audience react the way they did and enjoy it.
Tell us how this opportunity to close out LAFF came about?
The film was independently financed so you always look for a platform to show the film to studios and distributors in its best presentation (i.e. in front of an audience). As soon as I’d finished it, we started discussing options and the festival watched it and immediately offered us the gala closing night. The stars aligned thankfully.
At what point did the idea of Henry Cavill for Marshall come up and how realistic did you think it would be to get him?
An agent suggested him and I initially thought… “There’s no way he’d do this.” You can imagine my jaw hit the floor when a call came through saying “Henry wants to meet you.”
What was it about Henry that made you think he would be perfect for the role?
Henry’s playing a character whose emotional journey is all about what he’s not saying. He’s put himself in self-imposed emotional isolation, so there’s an inner turmoil happening which is preventing him from being the man he knows he should be.
I’ve always felt Henry is one of those rare actors who can say so much without saying anything. There’s an intensity there that’s undeniable. It’s just a question of freeing him up. I think what he’s done with Marshall is remarkable.
As a director, how did you help Henry to bring Marshall to life? (PHCB)
It’s a true partnership, which is an ideal relationship between any director and their leading man. He’s very collaborative and a real filmmaker at heart, who wants what you want… to make the best film possible. It’s a generosity that extends beyond our partnership and sets an example for the rest of the cast and crew, which is invaluable.
Tell us about the challenge of filming in such extremely cold temperatures. We saw a video that Henry Cavill released on his Instagram during filming and he looked very cold. How difficult was this to manage? (PHCB)
He is a physical anomaly, and I’m not talking about his muscles. That man can stand in the cold wearing a sweater and still smile, whereas I was shivering like a baby, wearing what most would describe as an entire bed on my shoulders.
Can you give us any details on when and where the general public will be able to see Nomis?
We’re in the process of finding its home, so news should be forthcoming.
Were you a fan of Henry’s portrayal of Superman?
I grew up in the era when there was only Superman cinematically. Henry’s portrayal of that brought me right back to my childhood which is the biggest compliment I can make.
What’s your reaction to the recent news that Henry might be done playing Superman?
I hope it’s not true. I did see a statement from Warners that it wasn’t true. They are the iconic Hollywood film studio for a reason and there’s a lot of incredibly talented people over there so, have faith. Henry IS Superman and in so many ways the perfect Superman. As a fan, like you, I want to see him fly.
As someone who has just worked with him and got to know him, I’m excited to see him play the Clark Kent of it all. Henry’s has incredible comedic timing and charisma, all of which embodies the Clark I loved reading about, which is that he’s playing the fool, but there’s this devilish quality to him that he knows he’s Superman. You let Henry loose playing that, which we’ve not seen before... that’s exciting. I think that’s what makes Henry THE Superman of our generation; he’s the physical earnest prescience who gets back up no matter what, but he’s also capable of having fun with it as Clark Kent. As an actor, it’s great casting because he embodies both those halves of a whole character, the fact they haven’t yet explored that equilibrium is exciting ground. I’ll be first in line with you all to go see it.
Have you seen Mission Impossible: Fallout?
Four times. When Henry first told me about it my first question was, “Is McQuarrie doing it!?” He’s one of my favorite filmmakers and given the fact I never had the chance to go to film school, studying people like him essentially becomes my film school. He sets the bar so that you can have these epic, action packed stories set against very intimate and emotional stories at its core.
Having said that, I did cheer along with everyone else when Henry succumbed to a helicopter chain hook to the face.
What's next for you?
Things I’ve written I’d love to direct. Things I’m pitching I’d love to direct. Pitches I’m writing I dream to direct.
Check out our filmography page for Nomis on the HCO website.