5 Men Who Were <i>Almost</i> Superman

By now most everyone is aware that The Tudors co-star Henry Cavill has been cast as the lead in Zack Snyder's Superman reboot. But how did the 27-year-old Brit land the coveted role, and who did he beat to get it?

Heat Vision reports that Cavill, who was on McG's shortlist for the planned Superman: Flyby, was one of the top three or four contenders for this new film from the very beginning. He was among the actors who auditioned for producer Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. in November and December, and was invited to a callback earlier this month, where he met with Snyder.

Here's a breakdown of the five actors who, according to Heat Vision, were also under consideration:

Matthew Bomer: The 33-year-old American actor is best known as con man-turned-FBI consultant Neal Caffrey on White Collar, and for his recurring role on Chuck.

Matthew Goode: Reportedly Cavill's stiffest competition, the 32-year-old Watchmen star was linked to the role in late November. The British actor is said to have removed himself from contention for the lead in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter so he could focus on Superman (Ben Walker, who originally was cast as Henry McCoy in X-Men: First Class, ended up landing the part of the ax-wielding president).

Armie Hammer: Another actor mentioned early in the race for the role, the 24-year-old American appeared in episodes of Gossip Girl and Reaper, but rose to prominence playing the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network.

Joe Manganiello: Although he appeared as Flash Thompson in Spider-Man and Spider-Man 3, the 34-year-old American gained fame as the werewolf Alcide on True Blood. Manganiello was mentioned just last week as a front-runner for Superman, but Heat Vision contends the production schedule of the HBO series was a factor in his losing the role.

Colin O'Donoghue: The only actor on the list who wasn't rumored for the role, the 30-year-old Irishman made his Hollywood movie debut over the weekend opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Rite. He also appeared in an episode of The Tudors.

In related news, Hero Complex and EW.com's PopWatch address the trend that's been mentioned in the comments here and elsewhere: the number of prominent American superhero roles portrayed by British actors (most notably, Batman, Spider-Man and now Superman).

Snyder’s Superman reboot, thought to be called Man of Steel, is written by David S. Goyer from a story by Goyer and producer Christopher Nolan. Charles Rovan, Emma Thomas and Deborah Snyder also are producing. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are executive producers. Filming is expected to begin in June for a December 2012 release.

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