14 Jun Henry Cavill, Russell Crowe came to Kankakee for scuba training for 'Man of Steel'

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Henry Cavill with his trainer Henry Cavill with his trainer

Man of Steel, the latest Superman movie, is currently playing at the Paramount Theatre in Kankakee. But the two stars of the adventure flick, Russell Crowe and Henry Cavill, actually visited the area nearly a year ago when they reported in with Tina Haigh and the crew at the Haigh Quarry dive center in Kankakee. Some scenes in the movie required SCUBA certification and the open water dive tests required two-day visits to the local facility.

 

"Seeing this movie is a must for me," said Haigh. "I recognized Russell Crowe when they came here, but when Henry Cavill got out of the car, I said, 'That guy really is Superman.' He was so handsome. And friendly. And down to earth."

She may have been a little star struck, but she recovered quickly enough to remember to have the stars and two stuntmen sign their release forms. So, the official records show that Cavill made his four required dives July 18 and 19. Crowe checked in Aug. 11 and 12. The stunt specialists Paul Darnell and Tim Rigby visited all four days.

"We're closed on Tuesdays, so they came when no one was here, and then they came back on Wednesdays," Haigh said. "Russell was recognized that second day, and his handler had to keep folks away so they could finish their work."

Crowe and Cavill were enrolled in a class taught by Dave Rautio of the Below H2O Dive Center in Naperville. He provided the classroom time and the pool practice at his shop, but had to go to the local quarry for the open dive experience.

Haigh knows Rautio, but said she was first notified of the visits by the film's production company, and kept the lessons low-keyed.

"I was still able to get some videos," said Ben Haigh, Tina's son. "You can be a long way away with today's video cameras and still get a pretty good shot."

Ben's wife, Kim, took the straight-on approach with the celebrity students. It's well-known Crowe doesn't pose for many photos, but he has his arm around Kim in her photo momento.

"He was taller than I pictured," she said. "And he definitely had that accent you hear in the movies."

"But he wasn't exactly in shape for another Gladiator movie," Tina said. "I think they were working on that, though. They were here from like 10 in the morning until 3 [p.m.] each day, so they would send a guy out for lunch.

"And they weren't getting fast food. It was healthy stuff, salads and broth and things."

Nearly 10,000 divers per year visit the crystal clear, 85-foot deep waters here. Most are students preparing for vacations in better known, more exotic diving locations.

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