Henry: Portrait of a wannabe killer
The pop psychology behind Superman’s desire to be a marine.
Lifting cars off crushed bodies and shooting spies to the sound of clunky one-liners – a piece of piss for Henry Cavill when he’s Superman or a bloke from UNCLE.
But the actor would have chased a life of bloodshed for real if the Man Of Steel role hadn’t cemented his place in Hollywood.
His older brother Niki has an MBE for his service as a Lieutenant Colonel in the British army, while another of his three brothers, Piers, was an army captain.
Cavill – now signed to play Superman in a further three films – told Loaded, “My brother Niki is a bit of a ninja and I probably would have joined the Royal Marines if acting hadn’t worked out. That would have been my target.”
Pop psychology also lies behind Cavill’s wish to be a soldier: army life would have allowed him to work out the anger he had for schoolyard tormentors who bullied him as a kid.
He’s told before he was taunted at Stowe School in Buckinghamshire for being “a fat kid with tits”. Bullies also nicknamed him a “lemon” because he couldn’t get a girlfriend.
Ironically, Cavill owes his life as a millionaire actor to his tormentors.
He said he started acting to escape his attackers, then gained their grudging acceptance by being a stand-out in school plays.
Cavill added, “I was bullied, but no-one could make fun of me when I was playing a character on stage, because it was what I was told to do. The bullies told me, ‘Actually, you were quite good in that’. It felt so good that I thought acting was probably something I should pursue.”
British-born Cavill, who played CIA agent Napoleon Solo in Guy Ritchie’s The Man From UNCLE, has obviously had the last laugh – girlfriends have included horse rider Ellen Whitaker and actress Gina Carano and he’s worth an estimated £10million.
Russell Crowe famously helped Cavill on his path to stardom when the Gladiator star visited Stowe School to film his movie Proof Of Life in 2000.
The 16-year-old Cavill asked Crowe for advice on breaking into acting and later received a parcel containing sweets, Vegemite and a note from Crowe that read, ‘Dear Henry – every journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step’.
Cavill, 32, who will soon be on multiplex screens as Clark Kent in Batman V Superman said, “I think I’m probably creeping up towards the 2,000-mile mark of that journey now. I’m on the next portion of the journey now… to the mountain range.”