In you walked up to a random bloke on the street and asked him if he wanted the powers Henry Cavill has in Man of Steel, I’m pretty sure I could guess his answer. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to fly? You could wake up, roll out of bed, check your stocks, and then whizz over to Paris to enjoy a croissant for brekkie. Afterwards, how about a quick dip before work? You could nip across to the Bahamas for some sea and sun before heading back to London for the daily grind.
Of course, the realities of flying on film aren’t quite so glamorous. When I spoke with Cavill about reprising the role of Superman in the highly anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I had to ask how close he actually came to the sensation of flying?
“In Man of Steel, a lot of it was done through wire work – with some CGI elements as well for the more distant shots, when we shot global stuff and large scenery. But in Batman v Superman, a lot more of the flying was done by CGI,” he continues, “but with live action of me landing or taking off.”
Of course, as cinemagoers, our disbelief – like Cavill himself – is suspended. Our obsession with Superman is simple: he has powers that we want. That’s one of the main reasons why the superhero genre brings in hundreds of millions of dollars to Hollywood every year. Indeed, between Man of Steel and the last three Batman films, more than $3.13bn has been taken at the global box office.
Somewhere in the brain’s machinery – alongside ambition, sex drive, and, er, investment strategies – there’s still a space that’s reserved for imagining what it would be like to be a superhero. Think about it: if Clark Kent was a financial trader instead of a journalist (who’d be a journalist, right?), he could fly between multiple time zones manipulating the markets to his heart’s content. Just imagine the possibilities.
And then there’s Batman, another superhero people have been intrigued by since the first comic back in 1940. He, unlike Superman, is just a normal bloke – albeit one with a hell of a trust fund (he inherited Wayne Enterprises). He doesn’t possess god-like powers; he just excels in using crafty gadgets, driving amazing vehicles, and has an affinity for using his fists to maximum effect.
But with enough technology and sly martial art techniques, could Batman actually take Superman in a fight? For years, people around the world, at work and at the pub, have been arguing about that exact scenario – with increasingly drunken conclusions.
So, I ask Cavill about it outright, what’s the final score? “What…? We don’t even fight…” he laughs. “Of course, we fight,” teases Cavill. Predictably, however, he refuses to give away the final outcome. Why spoil the fun?
This is Cavill’s second time working with director Zack Snyder – the first time was in Man of Steel. They hit a pretty sizeable home run at the box offices for the film, and it brought in more than $293m internationally. The respect Cavill has for Snyder is clear: “Zack is one of those absolutely exceptional visualists. It’s always incredible to see his finished products because he really is very, very good at creating a picture.”
This time around the stakes have been raised. The Batman v Superman cast is stacked: the ever-charming Ben Affleck takes over the role of Batman/Bruce Wayne, the ravishing redhead Amy Adams will play Lois Lane, followed by beauty Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. The versatile Jesse Eisenberg will play Lex Luthor, and the veteran Michael Shannon will play General Zod. One thing that is for sure, is that the film is generating massive buzz all around the world. The first trailer on YouTube produced more than 61 million views. “I’m very excited about it being released,” says Cavill. “I can’t wait to see what everyone thinks.”
After a stately beginning to his career, success has come thick and fast recently. How does Cavill look after the money side of things? “Most of my outgoings are spent on the team around me, which supports me. The irony about being in my position – and making more money on movies – is that it also costs more to support that infrastructure as time goes on. Basically, the actual liquid cash amount stalls, rather than increases exponentially. But then, once you get to a certain point, it does start to increase – and you have more for things like investments,” reveals Cavill.
As far as fashion goes, Cavill is a Dunhill guy. “I work very close with Dunhill right now,” he explains. “They’re fantastic – they make really stylish menswear, as well as leather goods. They design great suits – and classy casualwear, too,” he enthuses. Having played the impeccably dressed lead role – Napoleon Solo – in The Man from UNCLE, I wondered if he had started spending more of his time – and money – on his own wardrobe? “I suppose I have. But I have always liked wearing a good suit.”
As to whether or not you might find Cavill strolling the streets of the capital, it’s highly possible – he has a house in Kensington. But you’re most likely to spot him in Cut, Wolfgang Puck’s restaurant in the 45 Park Lane hotel: “It’s my favourite steakhouse,” he says.
Of course, he travels a lot for work: “It varies enormously depending upon on where I’m needed in the world – at this stage, it’s publicity for Batman v Superman – but it could be working on other jobs, which require me to go away. Before Christmas, I was in Jordan for a little bit, but other than that I spent most of last year here in London,” he explains.
Cavill grew up on Jersey. He caught the acting bug there while doing school plays. As it happens, Cavill’s father was a stockbroker. In another life, would Henry ever have followed in his father’s footsteps? “Well, I do quite enjoy the life I live now… but I think the idea of being a broker could actually really be interesting,” explains Cavill.
Still, I don’t think you can blame the guy for picking Superman over stocks. We’d trade with him any day.