LOS ANGELES—Deadpool and Superman share the same practical concerns about their respective suits.
For me, the most important thing was the ability to pee,” dished Henry Cavill on the famed Warner Bros. lot in Burbank, California. He echoed what Ryan Reynolds told me several weeks earlier about what adjustments he would make on his Deadpool suit: They were all “about allowing me to pee faster.”
“I spoke to the costume designer and said, ‘Michael (Wilkinson), I should be able to pee whenever I want to,’” added Henry, whose British accent and calm tone made it sound like he was discussing Shakespeare.
But the actor’s devilish smile was the giveaway. He wore a baby blue dress shirt whose sleeves seem to burst from his buff biceps.
The suit in question was, of course, Henry’s red-and-blue Man of Steel costume in Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
“And sure enough, they put in a special set of zippers that helped me out with that,” he continued as he cupped a plastic glass of water. “Otherwise, I didn’t get a chance to necessarily put my input on the suit.”
Apparently, it doesn’t take that long to put on the suits which are in even more muted hues than the one he wore in his first outing in “Man of Steel.” “Our best time was around eight minutes, but that was really rushing it,” Henry said. “When you are doing it that quickly, there’s a risk of tearing the suit. You have got to be careful with that. So we would probably say a safe time of around 15 minutes.”
When informed that Zack told us that he wanted Ben Affleck’s Batman to be bigger than Superman, Henry was still as cool as a cucumber in his quick Brit retort: “Thankfully, Superman has all the superpowers, so I have a nice little position of ego over him.”
Both Ben and Henry bulked up for their much-awaited movie showdown. Asked if there was a friendly competition going on between them to out-buff each other, Henry replied, “We didn’t pump up before scenes when we were wearing the suits, obviously. But right before our respective shirtless scenes, that’s always a requirement.”
He quipped with a grin, “Our shirtless scenes weren’t together, thankfully, or that would be a different movie. So, we never got to have that competitive nature in that sense and our training gyms were in different places.
“On the set, there was a sense of competition between us just because we wanted to not necessarily outdo each other, but to do the best for the characters, respectively. We inspired each other. I certainly went to the set and saw Ben, and I thought, right, I am going to have no problem going back to the gym after today just because of how good Ben is doing.”
Did he ever consider how he would look if he wore a Batman suit, instead? “If I had a lobotomy perhaps,” Henry parried with his quick and dry wit. “Everything I like about Superman is true and honest. Batman is a very cool character, but because I have the opportunity to play Superman, that is where my heart lies. It would sure be fun to put the cowl on for a day, but I honestly prefer being Superman through and through.”
On how he got even buffer this time around, Henry answered, “Physically, it requires a lot of eating. But as long as you lift and eat enough to allow for muscle growth, then it’s possible.”
He stressed that he relished not having to observe a strict regimen between “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman.” He’s already gearing up for his return as Clark Kent/Superman in the two “Justice League” movies coming up, though.
“I definitely had a chance to enjoy the finer things in life as far as food and drink are concerned,” he said. “I did. It’s important to have that balance. I haven’t even started my Superman training yet. I’ll go back to that in preparation for ‘Justice League’ as soon as this (media) tour is over.
“I love the training. It’s very hard work and intensive, though. If you are doing it all the time, it’s rewarding, yes. But I also like to enjoy myself and let go.”
How does the seemingly always-composed actor “let go?” “It’s basically me hanging out with my friends,” he said. “If I have a successful year, and therefore can afford it, I tend to treat myself rather luxuriously. I will disappear for two weeks on a private yacht, depending on where I find one in a particular place where I would like to go.
“That’s how I let go. That is when I get to relax and just soak up the fruits of my labor, essentially.”
On what he would do if he had a chance to be anonymous again, albeit temporarily, Superman was momentarily stumped. “I have not thought about that,” he admitted. Then, he added as an impish smile lit up his face again, “Of course, the mind immediately jumps to doing irresponsible things, because you can get away with it.” Like what “irresponsible things?” “I would never reveal that to you,” he shot back, still grinning. “But just simple things—go to a rugby match, and you can enjoy that without looking bad…[or] go out of the house in my pajamas, go to the corner shop and buy something there.”
In “Batman v Superman,” Superman, with his mega powers, including his ability to fly, is considered a deity (although part of the citizenry becomes wary and hostile toward him, precisely because of these same powers). Has he pondered some fans’ treatment of stars as being like gods?
“Yes, I like being a god,” he joked. “No. As much as there are parallels drawn between Superman and religion, and I wouldn’t necessarily say he is an alien god—though he is perceived as a god by some—he doesn’t think of himself that way. Therein lies some interesting storytelling.
“He was certainly warned off early on in ‘Man of Steel’ when he was a boy, that the world would fear him. Sure enough, half the world does…
“There’s another portion of the world that thinks he is a good guy. Then, there is a small portion of people who think he’s maybe even more of a good guy. And from that, interesting storytelling comes. Do I have any experiences of feeling that way in life? No, thank goodness.”
Well, maybe if Henry becomes the next James Bond…
The man is interested in the 007 role. “If the opportunity were to arise, it would be something that I would strongly consider,” he said, choosing his words carefully.
But if that iconic part lands on his lap, then he better has cloning powers, too. He has to clone himself in order to find time to play both Bond and Superman. “Time is a factor, especially if we start doing ‘Superman’ stand-alone movies, as well as the ‘Justice League’ movies,” he conceded. “And if I am being included in all the other standalone movies, as well, then time is extremely limited.”
Just like Bond, Henry is fond of sophisticated toys and gadgets. “I am very much into my PC gaming. I enjoy cars a lot, but living in London, it’s quite tricky to have a stable of cars because you don’t really drive around London much. I take taxis or the Tube if I am worth risking it.
“I am going to indulge in cars a bit more in the future. I am particularly excited by the new Bentley sports car, which is a concept right now. It’s called the EXP-10 Speed 6.”
As far as how the superwoman in Henry’s life looks like, he cracked, “She looks like my girlfriend.” Henry, 32, is dating Tara King, a 19-year-old college student. He took her to the recent Vanity Fair Oscars party.
“What qualities does she have?” he repeated a question aloud. “She allows me to be me, and she doesn’t have a problem with me being me,” he said. “She understands that. She treats me like a normal human being. She is protective of me and she allows me to protect her.
“When I am having a hard time and I need looking after and the world is a little too heavy, then she will happily take that weight for me and make sure that I am OK.”
On how his good looks impacted his acting aspirations from day one, Henry explained, “I did school plays in boarding school. At 17, the end of my second to last year, I was picked up and did ‘The Count of Monte Cristo.’
“My career went on from there, and I ran with that ball. But I wasn’t popular in school. I didn’t gain any advantages. I know I wasn’t the most intelligent student in school.
“As far as how one looks is concerned, I can neither raise it above to be anything else or say it’s a terrible curse to bear when being taken seriously because looking a certain way got me into Hollywood and allowed me to be considered for a lot of leading roles.
“If that is now a hindrance for me being a serious actor, I am the only person to blame. I need to prove to people that I am a serious actor by playing roles that show that.
“There will still be people who I won’t win over and will always call me just a pretty face, because that is how they want to see me. And even if I am considered a pretty face, that is all down to opinion.
“As I say, I am going to just keep on telling stories the way I want to tell stories and hopefully do it well committedly.”
He will be seen next with Nicholas Hoult in Fernando Coimbra’s “Sand Castle.”
“I play a Special Forces Captain (Syverson) in the first Iraq War,” he revealed. “The interesting thing about the film’s story is that it follows a group of guys, and it’s different in the sense that it doesn’t necessarily follow the soldiers as much as these guys are soldiers—they are fixers.
“They are brought into an environment where they can help more of a civil than a military situation. And things go rather wrong, and it’s an interesting story to follow.”
He talked a bit about the “Justice League” movies, both to be directed by Zack.
“The presence of other metahumans is addressed or explored, which is somewhat touched upon, let me say, in ‘Batman v Superman.’ In ‘Justice League,’ we explore it some more, and we start finding out that there are other superheroes in this universe which we are exposing. And they are very interesting people.”
To say the least…