After a long string of defeats, the newest Man of Steel is finally making a break for the spotlight.
Yesterday, Warner Bros. Pictures along with director Zack Snyder and producer Christopher Nolan announced that actor Henry Cavill would portray Superman in their upcoming relaunch of the fabled film franchise. And while much has been made that the 26-year-old "Tudors" star will be the third British actor to portray an iconic American superhero (after Dark Knight Christian Bale and incoming Spider-Man Andrew Garfield), Cavill's career connection to characters of the pop culture lexicon stretches back years over a number of failed attempts.
"Batman, I may have been spoken about at some stage, but never screen tested. Superman, yes. I came very close. James Bond as well," the actor told Fox 5 New York in 2009. Though it was always close but no cigar as Cavill continually lost out to other young actors out to reinvent the roles on their own.
Aside from losing Batman to Bale and Bond to Daniel Craig, Cavill was knocked out of the running for the part of Edward in "Twilight" (he was author Stephanie Meyers first choice) because he aged out of the part by the time filming began. And the chance to play Superman himself slipped through the Brit's hands to recent Man of Steel Brandon Routh.
"Yes, there was talk about that, a while ago now. Must have been four or five years ago, maybe more," Cavill was quoted from a recent interview on ComicBookMovie.com. "When McG was working on a script with them. I don't know how close I came. I understand it was very, very close and sadly the movie was cancelled because McG didn't want to fly. He certainly had a big fear of flying at the time; I think he's since overcome it. He wanted to shoot in New York, they wanted to shoot in Australia for obvious reasons. He said, 'I can't do it,' and they moved on. These things happen. It's the nature of the business."
But with the somewhat lukewarm reception to "Superman Returns," the pendulum has swung back and given Cavill a second chance to play Clark Kent, and he added of his interest in the part then "Very much so. I'm a fan of the character, and it depends on the script and the director, though not in that order necessarily."
As for what director Snyder and the production team of the next Superman flick (which has no official title but is rumored to be "Man of Steel") saw in Cavill, the stage-trained actor may not have been burning up many American action movies, but since an early film appearance in 2002's "Count of Monte Cristo" he's built a steady stream of parts in period dramas and swashbuckling faire including "Red Riding Hood," "Tristan & Isolde" and Matthew Vaughn's "Stardust." Cavill's four-year run with "The Tudors" saw him take the role of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk - a more villainous turn than the Last Son of Krypton for sure.
For a peak at what his more heroic turns will look like, fans can first see the actor pump up in the mythological action flick "The Immortals" where he plays Thesus. Cavill described the minotaur-killing founder of Athens to JustJared.com as "a fairly angry man. Angry because he feels like he's been dealt with unfairly throughout life, and has taken on fairly aggressive qualities. He's still a good man, and still fairly self-aware, but I think he's peeved at the world. Peeved is a light word to use, there."
That movie opens November 11 of this year while the next Superman movie is expected to debut late in 2012. For more on Cavill and the entire production of Zack Snyder's Superman, stay tuned to CBR and Spinoff Online.