Man of Steel re­turns

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - TIFFANY BAKKER

THE first time Henry Cav­ill stepped into his Su­per­man suit and looked in the mir­ror, some­thing odd hap­pened. “I didn’t recog­nise my­self at all,” he says. “I just saw the char­ac­ter. I saw Su­per­man.” Cav­ill is the lat­est in a long line of ac­tors – Christopher Reeve and Ge­orge Reeves, most fa­mously, and Bran­don Routh ( not so much) – to don the iconic red cape in Man of Steel, the new cin­e­matic in­car­na­tion of Jerry Siegel and Joe Schus­ter’s beloved comic- book su­per­hero. For Cav­ill, it was not a mo­ment to take lightly. “The suit is a very spe­cial thing to put on. It’s not just putting on a cos­tume, it’s be­come some­thing more than that, cer­tainly for me, and putting it on ev­ery morn­ing was an ex­pe­ri­ence. It was in­cred­i­bly spe­cial and it’s some­thing that will stay with me.”

Still, even he ad­mits there were a few draw­backs.

“It fit­ted like an alien body glove – that thing is tight,” the Brit says, smil­ing.

“Let’s just say it made go­ing to the toi­let in­ter­est­ing. I could’ve done with a fly.”

Di­rected by Zack Sny­der ( the man be­hind the fairly de­cent Watch­men and the fairly or­di­nary Sucker Punch), Man Of Steel stays close to Su­per­man’s roots.

As ex­pected, the spe­cial ef­fects are daz­zling, but the film very much con­cen­trates on the hu­man el­e­ment of the story, namely young Clark Kent/ Kal- El’s stark feel­ings of lone­li­ness and dis­place­ment.

Sny­der does a fine job in not al­low­ing the bells and whis­tles to over­shadow the emo­tional nar­ra­tive.

Here, Clark Kent is not por­trayed as a bum­bling Daily Planet re­porter, but rather an aim­less drifter, jumping from one ill- ad­vised job to the next, un­til fate in­ter­venes and he crosses paths with Lois Lane, played this time around by four- time Acad­emy Award- nom­i­nee Amy Adams.

“I felt very com­fort­able and re­laxed with Henry,” says Adams, who also praises Cav­ill’s work ethic.

“He kept me laugh­ing, and he’s very hand­some, too, which doesn’t hurt. I gig­gled like a schoolgirl the first time I met him and I kept on gig­gling right through shoot­ing. It can be a lit­tle dis­tract­ing.”

It’s kind of apt that an out­sider would play such an iconic Amer­i­can char­ac­ter.

“He’s a vul­ner­a­ble alien from Kryp­ton,” says Cav­ill. “So you can see the sim­i­lar­i­ties right there.”

But in the flesh, 30- year- old Cav­ill still has some­thing quintessen­tially all- Amer­i­can about him.

With his clas­sic old- Hol­ly­wood looks, chis­elled jaw and im­pres­sive physique, he re­sem­bles some­thing of a Tom Brady- es­que quar­ter­back or prom king.

In re­al­ity, Cav­ill’s own school days were far from glo­ri­ous.

He at­tended a stuffy board­ing school in Buck­ing­hamshire, suf­fer­ing from acute home­sick­ness and bul­ly­ing at the hands of class­mates, who, un­gra­ciously, had anointed him “Fatty Cav­ill”. ( One can only won­der what they’re say­ing now.)

Cav­ill, who grew up with four broth­ers, was mis­er­able and took refuge in theatre af­ter a teacher sug­gested he give it a go.

“I dealt with my home­sick­ness by do­ing drama and teach­ers re­sponded well to it, so I did an­other one and I just loved it.

“I thought, ‘ I ac­tu­ally re­ally like this, maybe this is some­thing that I’m good at. Maybe I should keep on do­ing this’.”

Suc­cess, though, was a while com­ing. He by­passed univer­sity to give act­ing a se­ri­ous crack and ended up do­ing what ev­ery Bri­tish ac­tor worth his salt does – nab a small part on Mid­somer Mur­ders.

Other bit parts fol­lowed un­til he found him­self at­tended a cast­ing call look­ing for a “posh English board­ing school boy” for a role in The Count of Monte Cristo – not sur­pris­ingly, he got it.

But it’s the roles Cav­ill missed out on that defi ned his early ca­reer. Fa­mously, he lost out on two ma­jor roles that ul­ti­mately went to fel­low Brit Robert Pat­tin­son, that of Ed­ward Cullen in the Twi­light se­ries ( Stephanie Meyer ini­tially wrote the char­ac­ter with Cav­ill in mind) and Cedric Dig­gory in the fourth Harry Pot­ter in­stal­ment, Gob­let of Fire.

Dis­heart­ened, Cav­ill de­cided that maybe an act­ing ca­reer just wasn’t on the cards, un­til, at 23, he was asked to au­di­tion for the role of James Bond. Ul­ti­mately, the role went to Daniel Craig, even though di­rec­tor Martin Camp­bell pushed for Cav­ill.

Still, the 007 near- miss gave Cav­ill the boost he needed.

“Just go­ing through that process was a turn­ing point for me. It felt like, ‘ Well, if I can even be re­motely con­sid­ered for James Bond, there must be some­thing there’.”

MAN OF STEEL opens at Vil­lage Cinemas on Wed­nes­day, June 27.

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