‘Man of Steel’ Star Henry Cavill Talks the Pressure of Playing Superman

Published 3 years ago by , Updated September 4th, 2012 at 11:51 am,

Superman Man of Steel Henry Cavill Pressure Man of Steel Star Henry Cavill Talks the Pressure of Playing Superman

Every little boy dreams of being him, and every grown man, well…some things never change. The chance to actually play Superman on film is an honor bestowed upon few in history, and Henry Cavill is aware of just how many doors can be opened should Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel reboot be a success.

Great opportunities come at the cost of great risks, and Cavill is all too aware of just how many people could be let down if his performance as the Man of Steel is found lacking. With all that pressure on his all-too-human shoulders, Cavill is focusing on his own concerns for the film, not those of comic book fandom.

Any fan of the character has likely heard of the ‘Superman Curse’ that struck both George Reeves and Christopher Reeve following their portrayals of the Last Son of Krypton. But these days, the risks of occupying the blue spandex aren’t supernatural at all. Bryan Singer gave what could have been a one-way ticket to leading man status to Brandon Routh in his Superman Returns (2006) – but things, as we know, ended up quite differently; and as far as we know, Tom Welling is doing fine.

All things considered, it’s worth thinking about just how much pressure is being placed on Henry Cavill: playing the most famous superhero of all time, at the peak of comic book movie popularity (not to mention budget), with a successful film beginning a multi-picture deal rivaling Marvel’s movie universe. Cavill has explained how his work on Immortals prepared him for the physical strain of becoming Superman, but keeping one’s head clear with that kind of expectation has to be taxing for the most grizzled thespian.

 Henry Cavill Immortals Combat 570x302 Man of Steel Star Henry Cavill Talks the Pressure of Playing Superman

In an interview with Cineplex, Cavill explained that the amount of people hoping for Man of Steel to deliver the goods is something he acknowledges. But at the end of the day, he’s got the memory of the Big Blue Boy Scout to answer to:

“…It’s important to do the role justice. There are a lot of people relying on me to do this well. I gladly accept that responsibility, and it’s a great one to have because it’s a wonderful opportunity. I don’t let the pressures get to me because that’s going to hinder my performance and, therefore, let people down. So I choose to ignore the pressure side of it and focus on doing justice to Superman.”

Again reemphasizing Snyder’s goal of modernizing Superman and making him easier to identify with, it’s becoming clear just how much of an optimist Cavill truly is. Not that it wouldn’t be anyone’s dream to play as universal an icon as Superman, but for someone with a promising acting career already built, that’s quite a gamble. Some may see the odds as stacked against Cavill from the start, since his face will be the one linked to Man of Steel‘s success or failure.

But for every Brandon Routh, there’s been a Christian Bale, Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans; the list of overnight stars goes on. Obviously the established names had more experience in the spotlight prior to their time in costume, but then again, Cavill is British – and they tend to have a knack for this kind of thing. Success in this case might even mean a future stint as the world’ most famous spy, but Cavill is clearly looking at the task at hand.

Brand Routh Superman Returns 570x334 Man of Steel Star Henry Cavill Talks the Pressure of Playing Superman

As far as betting on the outcome of his being cast as Clark Kent, it’s hard to deny the quality of his past performances. And as much as Zack Snyder may be a somewhat divisive name among comic book fans, his casting choices have spoken for themselves. The selection of not just Gerard Butler for 300 (2006), but the casting of then-relatively-unknown Michael Fassbender earned praise. Patrick Wilson and Jackie Earle Haley being cast as Nightowl and Rorschach, respectively, were two aspects of Watchmen (2009) that are rarely attacked.

Now he’s hand-picked a young British actor over other well-known names and faces in the running, despite his being passed on the last time around. Whatever else may happen, it seems unlikely that comparisons between Man of Steel and Superman Returns will be obvious. With a new face, a completely redesigned suit, a far more grounded artistic direction, and even a new origin story to tell, the tools are in place for a fresh start.

Just don’t tell that to Cavill: he needs to focus.

Man of Steel will be arriving in theaters on June 14, 2013.

Follow me on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

Source: Cineplex

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  1. the thing that worries me is the line “Cavill is focusing on his own concerns for the film, not those of comic book fandom…”

    does this mean is isn’t concerned with the geek community’s reaction/interpretation to his incarnation of Supes?

    • I think this means that if he burdens himself with trying to fulfill every nerd’s fantasy, his acting and interpretation will suffer. I believe when he talks about “his own concerns” he means that he’s blocking out the outside noise and focusing on the doing the best he can on the task at hand. IMO its a smart approach. You cant worry about making everyone happy all the time… especially with how critical hardcore nerds can be. If you let that consume you, you’re doomed. I like the approach he’s taking. Sounds to me like he’s really trying to internalize the role and make it his own.

      In a way its similar to Nolan/Bale’s Batman… I remember the skepticism before Batman Begins came out and people ended up being blown away. Fast forward a few years and now it seems like people don’t want to see Batman in a new movie unless its a Nolan/Bale deal. I understand why people are concerned about the new Superman movie but for the most part I think they need to chill out. The anticipation is getting the best of them. Nolan does have his name tied to this film after all and I don’t think that after all his success with Batman he’d have any association with it if it was going to bomb. I’m looking forward to this film!

    • No, it just means he’s focusing on the role. What is the “geek community’s” interpretation anyway? Geeks fight each other so there’s no single one and if he put himself in the middle of geek catfights he won’t have anything to interpret at all.

  2. “The selection of not just Gerard Butler for 300 (2206), but the casting of then-relatively-unknown Michael Fassbender earned praise.”

    I didn’t realize 300 won’t even be released for another 194 years. lol

    I kid… I kid…

    • Haha. I could explain what was happening there, but…..I’ve already said too much 😉

  3. “Every little boy dreams of being him”
    I was batman when I was a boy.

    • +1

      • +2

        • +3

          • +4

    • I was Clint Eastwood’s “man with no name” from his Spaghetti westerns.

    • I wanted to be Adam West era Batman when I was a kid. I blame the era I was born in and the re-runs on television at the time. i can’t be held responsible. (^-^)

    • I was Donatello for the most part (one of the Ninja Turtles) 😉
      But I did spend quite a bit of my time being Superman, Spider-Man, Goku and of course, Batman.

      • I wanted to be Spiderman, a Jedi, Spawn, Zorro and sometimes Superman, but no Batman (I really don’t know why).

  4. I really hope Man of Steel is good. I’m a Zack Snyder fan and I think that, after Green Lantern, DC needs to pick up their game. Hopefully, they give us Wonder Woman, Flash, and Aquaman films before Justice League… but that’s a debate for another time.

    Up up and away, comic book geeks!

    • Amen Brother

    • I think they should do the opposite of Marvel and have a great Justice League film first then they should branch out with the solo ones like Wonder Woman,Flash,and then eventually the Batman reboot.

      • +1

  5. “I gladly accept that responsibility… on doing justice to Superman.” -Henry Cavill

    Well, “With great power comes great responsibility.” -Stan “The Man” Lee

    • That quote was used before Stan Lee was even alive…

  6. That’s right, Henry. Don’t pay attention to the stupid fanboys.

    Not everyone can be satisfied and Man of Steel already has its haters.

    I believe in this movie, I believe in Zack Snyder!

    • I believe in Snuffleupagus!

      • I believe in Harvey Dent.

      • There is something wrong with anyone that does not like hot girls in school girl outfits kicking butt!!!

        • I couldn’t even get through 15 mins of “Sucker Punch”. I even tried twice! But I think Snyders a great director. He did a great job on “Watchmen”. (IMO)

        • SuckerPunch was bad. and that’s being kind. I have hope for MOS because of Cavill, but also because of Nolan.

          • Nolan had really minimal input on this movie. He pitched an idea with Foyer. He didn’t script, he’s not directing, all he has is a producer cred.

            • *Goyer

            • don’t trivialize a “producer” credit. unless you can provide a link that states Nolan & Goyer’s input was “minimal”, we should keep our fingers crossed. The links I read spoke of Nolan “mentoring” Snyder. and if anyone needs to be reigned in, after the crapfest that was Sucker Punch, it’s Snyder.
              I think Emma Thomas also has a producer Cred, and the buzz is that it’s a Batman Begins type origins take… I doubt Nolan’s just tagging along to attach his & Thomas’ name to the project.

  7. it’s a smart move focusing on the task at hand. the community is so split over little things like whether or not supes is wearing red underwear or if the kent house is near the ocean or not that it could drive you insane trying to please people. and lets face it, as a performer, he probably has no control over these things anyway. best thing he can do is focus on delivering a great performance.

  8. I think he’ll be a great Superman, though I’m worried about his Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve could be a nerd and switch to awesomeness, even if his films weren’t that great. So we’ll have to see

    • I’m ashamed to say this, but I think Brandon Routh was a good Kent, but a mediocre \ creepy superman.

      • @RandomIntern…
        I agree, cuz he looks like a nerd anyway. Yes his Superman was kinda creepy. He didn’t speak much and he stalked Lois Lane

  9. I really really hope this kicks off an epic shared movie universe

  10. i got my fingers crossed. not really worried about supes tho. im more worried that shannon can pull off ZOD. the difference between a good movie and a great one is the villain.

    • Very true, that’s one of my main concerns as well. And definitely one aspect that could introduce some Watchmen ‘camp’ that I don’t really want to see in Man of Steel.

    • Watch BoardWalk Empire and the Iceman trailer. Shannon is quite the menacing actor. His voice scares me.

  11. anyone think that hugh jackman would be a great bruce wayne/batman for the reboot

    • No. Simply because he’s wolverine.

  12. I think, for me, the ‘Superman curse’ should have more to do with the fact that most of the actors who have played this character have not been able to get good roles for themselves afterwards- due to being type-cast to the role. Kirk Alyn (1940s), George Reeves (1950s), Christopher Reeve (1970s-80s), Dean Cain (1990s)(nothing tangible as regards roles). Even Tom Welling (2000s)seems out of major TV/movie circulation. And Brandon who? Just kidding…he didn’t stay long enough to be associated IMO but ya never know- still unknown in major circles. Nothing supernatural about it- just our way of branding these guys who were mostly unknown before the movie.
    Someone like RDJ could have been type-cast for Iron Man if he wasn’t already a well-known actor and hadn’t cleverly acted other hit movie characters like Sherlock Holmes to diffuse the focus. In retrospect, even Roger Moore, despite his previous successful TV series (The Saint et al) was branded as Bond for life. Sean Connery was lucky to have gotten out in time…lol! to make his own hits such as ‘The Untouchables’ and ‘The Last Crusade’.

    That, methinks, is what Cavill should be worried about unless he’s okay with being type-cast. For fanboys, it won’t be a bad thing, I should guess…

    • Yet landing the role of Wolverine did wonders for Hugh Jackman’s career. He was a relative unknown before “X-Men”. I guess you can never really tell if an actor will get typecast or not. Sometimes they do for years, and then all of a sudden “BANG!” they get the right role and there’s no stopping them.

      I haven’t seen enough of Cavill having only seen him in “Immortals”, but I’m happy with what I’ve seen of him so far.

    • Tom Welling had the role for 10 years and deserved the movie. They went wih a “younger” superman in Henry Cavill but he’s just not the icon to me. Zach Snyder of late has not had a good track record and even though Nolan was involved, his brother passed on the rewrite. I’m just hoping that MOS comes out decently as Zach Snyder needs a win and Tom Welling can get on with his acting career without the cape looming over him…..

  13. @motoko, you’re right about Hugh and Wolverine (maybe even Chris and Thor-who knows?) but there’s something different about the Superman typecast ‘curse’. Superman is iconic- arguably the most popular fictional all-round good guy after Santa (lol)! And undoubtedly the most popular superhero. So when a relatively unknown actor takes up that role it kinda sticks for a long time; people don’t seem to see you as anything else. “What?! Superman’s a serial killer in this movie?” Or “He’s a pervert in this movie? Hell no!” No matter how far from the Supes spectrum you want to go to show your acting prowess and versatility, some producer just doesn’t feel you’re right for the part or that you’ll be credible enough to pull it off or is worried about viewers’ acceptance and doesn’t want to risk it. So much so that George Reeves’ career is said to have gone into a slump in the 50s due to the typecast. Some believe his mysterious death was a suicide and attribute it to his frustration over a lack of roles after a successful career as Superman. Who knows?

    It’s also worthy to note that, even before Superman the movie premiered, Christopher Reeve had been so worried about being typecast that he sought advice from Sean Connery who had just successfully beat his. Sometimes it can be self-inflicted. Chris Reeves was known to have turned down lead roles (in Lethal Weapon, Fatal Attraction, Pretty Woman, Splash, Body Heat etc.) which he felt were not (no longer?) appropriate for him.

    But like I said, hopefully things have changed and Cavill may just be the first to kill the ‘Supes albatross’ and diversify successfully. That is if he totally kills the role and is accepted as one.

  14. The other Superman movies have not impressed me. I am holding out hopes that this one will be better….!

  15. I just want to say, its Nite Owl, not Nightowl

  16. this movie will be a bomb. Nuff Said. Henry Cavill IS NOT Superman to me.

  17. this movie will be a bomb. . Henry Cavill IS NOT Superman to me.

    • Impeccable insight

  18. I think what Cavill said is great i’m glad to hear he’s being mature about his role in the film and how it will affect the film. A lot of people think that it’s an actor’s or a movie maker’s job to make people happy but i never really thought thats what it was i always thought that we all have the same job to live and i think i can sense that in this interview he’s doing superman in the way that he thinks does the character justice not what others think it will, he’s trying to not care what others think is what it sounds like to me. Good for you Cavil, got a good feeling about this one really excited. ME WANT TRAILER #2!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!