News broke this weekend that the upcoming Superman reboot had found its Man of Steel in actor Henry Cavill. Best known for his role in Showtime's The Tudors, the 27-year-old actor had been bubbling on Hollywood's radar for years before being handed the blue tights and red cape for the newest installment in the Superman franchise, which will be directed by Zack Snyder (300) and produced by Christopher Nolan.
In fact, the actor has been on the shortlist for several star-making roles in the past decade, including Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, James Bond in Casino Royale, and the superhero leads in Batman Begins and The Green Lantern. As Indiewire details, Cavill was even set to play Clark Kent once before, in a version of Superman Returns to be directed by McG:
"I was attached to the McG 'Superman' movie," Cavill revealed. "Then Bryan Singer came on and took the helm and he made his movie." The actor admitted he went as far as wearing a version of the iconic Superman costume reportedly designed and created by special effects legend Stan Winston. The actor put on a brave face though noting that "it wasn't so much of a sting because it was like, 'Oh, I got [the role],' and then the movie just didn't happen."
Producers were clear that they wanted a less famous star for their Superman reboot, and auditioned a handful of the industry's crop of future leading men, including a Watchmen star and the man behind The Social Network's Winklevoss twins:
Cavill's closest competitor this time around was Matthew Goode, another British actor who was one of the stars of Snyder and Warners' Watchmen comic book movie (he played genius entrepreneur Ozymandias.) Goode was also in contention for the title role in Fox's Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and is said to have taken himself out of that race in order to focus on Superman.
Warners and Nolan auditioned actors in Los Angeles, New York, and London in November and December, with someone in the 28- to 32-year-old range as the ideal candidate. In addition to Cavill and Goode, among those who met or were under consideration were White Collar star Matthew Bomer, Social Network's Winkelvoss twins Armie Hammer, True Blood actor Joe Manganiello (scheduling with the HBO show was a factor) and Colin O'Donaghue, who stars opposite Anthony Hopkins in The Rite.
As Entertainment Weekly points out, Cavill will be joining a growing legion of actors who will be disguising their British accents while portraying American superheroes. The native Brit joins Andrew Garfield, who will star in the Spider-man reboot, and the Welsh Christian Bale, who is gearing up for the next Batman film:
Is this blasphemy, or mere coincidence? And don't we just want whoever is best for the role? (Though, that said, can you imagine the uproar if an American was cast as James Bond? Yeow!)