MOTW: Henry Cavill's Amazing Journey from a Jersey Island Boy to the "Man of Steel"

Photo Credit: Warner Bros.
June 13th, 2013

MOTW: Henry Cavill's Amazing Journey from a Jersey Island Boy to the "Man of Steel"

Although he is currently one of Hollywood's most recognizable faces, Henry Cavill didn't intend to become an actor. His story begins in Jersey, one of England's Channel Islands and his place of birth. Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill was born on May 5, 1983, and is a fourth son out of five. His early life revolved around his education: first at St. Michael's Preparatory School and then at a boarding school in Buchinghamshire. The boarding school had a blooming drama and theater department, where the young Cavill learned to love acting. He was involved in many school plays, several of which earned him recognition and awards. However, acting was just a hobby to him; he wanted to become an Egyptologist and afterwards to join the royal military.

It was a stroke of luck that altered his destiny. Casting agents for "The Count of Monte Cristo" (2002) arrived at the school in search for a young man capable of taking on the role of Albert Mondego. Cavill was a perfect candidate, as he had been gaining acclaim from several of his local play efforts. The decision to take the part led to a string of film roles, including the acclaimed "Tristan and Isolde" (2006) and "Red Riding Hood" (2007), where he played the hunter. The budding actor was selected to play Charles Brandon in "The Tudors," a Showtime drama that went on to win Emmys. Finally, after losing out on several iconic roles, Cavill had a real break.

Cavill missed some of the most desired roles in Hollywood before landing a part in "The Tudors.". Bruce Wayne from "Batman Begins" went to Christian Bale, James Bond in "Casino Royale" went to Daniel Craig, and Cedric Diggory in "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" went to Robert Pattinson. Cavill was called the unluckiest man in Hollywood for a while, but the real issue concerning his loss of the Wayne and Bond parts was his youth. After wowing critics due to his Showtime drama performance, entertainment magazines and industry insiders proclaimed that Cavill would become the next big thing.

His rise to stardom was not like a rocket, though. Cavill lost out on another role to Robert Pattinson-Edward Cullen in Stephanie Myer's "Twilight." Pattinson became the richest man in Hollywood and the subject of gossip sites and paparazzi. Cavill continued to quietly and steadily work. Cavill's unlucky streak didn't seem to be over, as he was set to play Superman in the J.J. Abrams penned "Superman: Flyby," but the project was abandoned. In addition, Brian Singer's "Superman Returns" (2008) was a huge disappointment. However, the franchise was not dead, and Warner Bros. chose Christopher Nolan ("Inception" and "The Dark Knight") and David Goyer ("Batman Begins," "Godzilla," and "Da Vinci's Demons") to head a new project as a reboot team.

A lot of speculation and buzz was spread throughout the film industry about who would land the coveted role, but Cavill was almost always a top choice. Fierce competition came from actors such as Ian Somerhalder ("Lost" and "The Vampire Diaries"), Matt Bomer ("White Collar" and "Magic Mike"), Armie Hammer ("The Lone Ranger"), and many other popular Hollywood leading men. Secrecy was the name of the game. Even Cavill did not know he was being considered until he was informed that he had the part. Director Zack Snyder ("300" and "Watchmen") had no one else in mind to become the Man of Steel besides Cavill.

Many people do not know that the casting for the original 1978 "Superman" film was limited to only American actors. Many considered Superman to be a true American hero and were upset at the casting of a British actor to play the legendary DC Comics superhero. However, many non-American actors in the last decade have been cast for the parts of characters not from their native countries. Hugh Jackman is an Australian, and he plays the part of Wolverine in the X-Men series of films. Another Aussie-Chris Hemsworth-became the mighty Thor, while Canadian Ryan Reynolds took the ring of "The Green Lantern." Cavill shrugged off this criticism by stating that actors are paid to play someone else, so nationality does not matter.

"Man of Steel" is set to fly into theaters on June 14, 2013. The trailers have received a positive response. People who were disillusioned by the last Superman films are excited for this installment. Even with the possibility of a record-breaking summer blockbuster, Cavill continues to work on other projects, including Guy Ritchie's "The Man from U.N.C.L.E." Will he win an Oscar-a man of gold-for "Man of Steel?"