Henry Cavill talks 'Man of Steel,' and playing a hero vs. villain


This weekend we officially welcome Henry Cavill to the big leagues. Despite leading roles in The Tudors and 2011's Immortals, his star turn in Man of Steel, opening today, will likely launch the British actor into the next level of stardom.

Along with a few other journalists, I got a chance to chat with Cavill in 2011, only days before he began filming Man of Steel with Zack Snyder. This isn't the most groundbreaking interview, but I found it interesting to look back and revisit what the man who would be Superman had to say. It is especially interesting because the role of Supes can make an impact on an actor -- good and bad.

Will Cavill be able to remain a down-to-earth guy who doesn't take his work overly seriously, as he seemed in this interview? Will his gig as The Last Son of Krypton afford him the chance to play as villains as he wishes? And will we ever see him return to TV? 

Take note of his answers below and think about them on Monday when the box office receipts come in. Because that's when everything might change for Henry Cavill...
What kind of training did you have to do leading up to Man of Steel?

Training was based strongly upon martial arts and a type of training called Tabata, which is 25 repetitions of an exercise, followed by eight deep breaths, followed by 25 repetitions and eight deep breaths, up until you complete a hundred repetitions of one exercise, a minute’s rest, then you go into round two – which is the same as round one with potentially different exercises. Ultimately, each set of repetitions, each 25, is a different part of the body being worked. It is a very high-end intensity, leaning, type training … when I was in London training, it was nine-to-five.

Will you ever want to return to TV or do you want to continue to do only movies?

Movies, 100 percent. You get more time to tell less of a story, which is fantastic. As much as TV has its appeal, in the sense that you can start a character and, 40 hours later, you can finish the characters – which gives you a lot more time and you can add tiny nuance, and character to a person – film has more in the way of resources to provide a fantastic story … TV can be very time consuming. If you do a TV thing, the chances are it could be a four-year contract and you could be doing that six months every year. That’s four years of your life gone. Fitting a movie in the other half of the year is really difficult. I will probably stick to the movies.

Between Immortals and Man of Steel, do you ever worry about developing a demi-god complex?

No, it’s acting! [laughs] No, not at all, it’s fun to do this kind of thing.

You once said you’d join the army if you weren’t an actor, so do you feel like a warrior in real life?

Well, I don’t feel like warrior in real life because, obviously, I’m not. But it certainly has an appeal for me. I’m from a forces family, a military family, and it’s certainly something I would have done had acting not gotten me first.

Do you feel like a man’s man or softer? Not like a god or man of steel?

Oh goodness me, you’d have to ask my fiancĂ©.

Do you like playing villains or heroes more?

There are positives and fun things to playing both. Villains can often have a lot more character and a lot more, sort of, meat and interesting things. Audiences tend to love a villain and remember a villain. Heroes are great fun too because it’s the hero. And you get to win! I don’t think I have a particular preference because I don’t think I’ve played any villains – maybe one but it’s a questionable one and is a very, very small role – but I would like to play some villains, it’s just a matter of choosing the right ones to play.