Henry Cavill has had the role of Superman for almost a decade. Zack Snyder cast him in Man of Steel in 2011. The film came out in 2013 and Cavill played Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Justice League. The future of Superman in movies is a bit of a mystery but there is talk of having Cavill appear in other films, if not a Man of Steel 2.
Cavill spoke with Patrick Stewart for Variety’s Actors on Actors issue on June 24. They mainly spoke about The Witcher and Star Trek: Picard respectively, but Stewart had questions about playing Superman. Cavill said the role has taught him a lot about himself.
Kids don’t know who Henry Cavill is
One way Superman is a different role for Cavill is the way it appeals to kids. Grown-ups know that he’s not the bad guy from Mission: Impossible – Fallout or Agent Solo from The Man From U.N.C.L.E. Kids only see Superman though.
“With a character like that, you carry the mantle with you off set,” Cavill told Stewart. “And it becomes part of your public representation. When you meet children, children don’t necessarily see me as Henry Cavill, but they might see Superman, and there’s a responsibility which comes with that. Because it’s such a wonderful character, it’s actually a responsibility I’m happy to have, and I hope that I get to play more of Superman in years to come.”
What Superman taugh Henry Cavill about himself
Superman stands for truth, justice and the American way, although those themes haven’t been as dominant in Cavill’s films. The trio of films he’s starred in have explored the burden of being Superman, bearing responsibility for all of humanity and yet blame when he can’t save everybody.
“It’s also taught me a lot about myself,” Cavill said. “He’s so good, he’s so kind, and when you start to compare yourself to him, because you’re playing him, you start to really look inwards. You say, ‘Am I a good person? Can I be a good enough person to play Superman?’ And if you ever hear a whisper in there which is like, ‘Hmm, hold on a second. Maybe not,’ then you adjust it, and you make sure you are a better person. I think that’s all we can do in life.”
With great power comes great responsibility
Okay, that’s from Spider-Man, but Cavill definitely understands the quid pro quo of playing Superman. He appreciates the boost it has given his career, and he won’t take that lightly.
“My life has changed dramatically because of it,” Cavill said. “And it has given me plenty of opportunity for roles, and yeah, it’s been one of those characters which changed the entire course of my career. I’m incredibly grateful for it. I’ve always been a fan of Superman.”