The British actor has seen starring roles, but never anything like iconic comic-book hero Superman.
Henry Cavill wears blue jeans, flip-flops and a T-shirt while walking through a flock of diners at Fishbar restaurant, but it might as well be a form-fitting bodysuit and a red cape.
Maybe it's his stride, physique, deep blue eyes and coiffed dark hair, the guy really does look like Superman, even while relaxing at a beach eatery.
"When my hair was longer months ago, you wouldn't have said as much," says Cavill, 30. "But at the moment, yeah, I guess there's a certain resemblance."
This "certain resemblance" was strong enough that director Zack Snyder nabbed the British actor to play the iconic comic-book character in Man of Steel, the much-awaited Superman reboot that hits screens June 14. It was also enough that Cavill was pursued for 2006's Superman Returns, though he lost out to Brandon Routh when the project switched directors.
The experience of having come so close just makes snaring the Man of Steel role that much more poignant. It also gave Cavill some valuable training for the path-seeking character he portrays.
"I guess you can say Henry was born to play Superman," says Snyder, noting the actor's physical similarities. "But all these life experiences have come together. He's gone through a journey. In our movie, Clark Kent gets jostled around by life and then becomes Superman. Henry has done the same thing."
Cavill already has had an impressive career, including roles in 2002's The Count of Monte Cristo, Showtime's The Tudors and 2011's Immortals (which had a No. 1 opening weekend with $32 million).
But he also has shrugged off high-profile setbacks such as losing out to Daniel Craig for the role of James Bond.
"Having had all the ups and downs maybe made me want to work all the harder," Cavill says. "Yeah, bad things will happen to you. And you'll get kicked (down) a few times. Stand up."
But with Man of Steel, "I got lucky enough to have a second shot with different people whose vision I fit into," he says.
Snyder was hooked on Cavill after his December, 2010 audition and became fully convinced after a screen test with the actor wearing Christopher Reeve's Lycra Superman outfit. Even though Cavill was out of shape after being directed to eat pizza to appear like a regular guy for 2012's The Cold Light of Day, Snyder knew he had his man.
"When he came out in the suit, it was like, 'OK, that's our Superman,' " Snyder says.
Cavill recalls the phone conversation when he found out he had the part. He was ignoring calls while playing video games before he noticed his potential employer was trying to reach him. When they finally connected, Snyder was too polite.
"I'm thinking, 'He's letting me down easy,' Cavill says. "And then he said, 'I was also wondering if you wanted to do a little movie with me.' Inside there were fireworks going off. But I played it extremely cool."
The "little movie'' called for the supersuit to be updated with an "alien" look. A cast was assembled that includes Russell Crowe as his father, Jor-El, Kevin Costner and Diane Lane as adoptive parents Jonathan and Martha Kent and Amy Adams as Lois Lane. Meanwhile, Cavill immediately underwent a physical regimen capped by four months supervised by 300 trainer Mark Twight.
Cavill says he shunned using performance-enhancing drugs ("I like to see the results for myself and think I did the honest course") and computer-graphic tricks to make his body look bigger on-screen.
"I wanted it to be me," he says. "It helped me get into character. And also because it's my name. I wanted to provide that image (of Superman) and make it reality."
Cavill dove into the workouts and a 5,000-calorie daily diet to bulk up. The subsequent body-sculpting phases, when he drastically cut the calories, were far harder to handle. But Snyder says the actor never lost his cool -- even when he was shirtless and wet for scenes shot outside in Vancouver, British Columbia.
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SOURCE: USA Today