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When Henry Cavill was 17, Russell Crowe visited his school to film scenes for the 2000 film Proof Of Life. On the day he first donned the Superman cape: 'I was infused with this childlike excitement. Henry as Charles Brandon in the unashamedly sexy and violent period drama The Tudorsa€?Ia€™ve thought about it a lot over the years.
Cavill eventually settled at Stowe, lost weight, joined the CCF and started getting interested in acting.
How the new Superman takes to the skiesHenry Cavill, in full costume, lies flat on a tiny metal bodyboard suspended in front of a giant green screen.
I have two young sons (Charlie, nine, and Tennyson, six) and they have never actually been able to watch a movie that Ia€™ve made all the way through, because I dona€™t usually make movies for their age group. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
The a€?Sa€? emblazoned on my chest, the boots, the red capea€¦ Superman seeps into every boya€™s consciousness. Aged 13, he arrived midway through the first term at Stowe, one of Britaina€™s most prestigious public schools, where fees are more than A?9,000 a term. Initially he was torn between joining the Army (his second eldest brother, Major Niki Cavill of the Royal Marines, was recently awarded an MBE for his work in Afghanistan) and treading the boards, but then came that transformative meeting with Crowe.
In 2004, director Joseph a€?McGa€™ Nichol was casting for his version of Superman and Cavill was offered the part. About 2ft long, the board had been moulded to fit his physique with his arms stretched out in front of him in classic Superman pose. It actually made me think, a€?Yes, this is what I want to do.a€?a€™ Thrilling though a chance encounter with a bona fide star must have been for a teenage boy, Cavill never dreamed his tale would have a Hollywood ending, but it has. So I thought, a€?What the heck, Ia€™ll do it.a€™ It didna€™t worry me that Brando (Marlon Brando, Crowea€™s favourite actor) had done the role before.
Six foot tall and nearly 16st, with an impressively chiselled jawline, Cavill looks every inch the superhero.a€?I had been head boy at my prep school. You start to feel powerful and really good about yourself.a€™ At his peak, Cavill could deadlift 31st.
Ia€™ve never made any secret of the fact that I think he is brilliant, but Ia€™ve never seen that particular performance.
But, suffering from Osgood-Schlatter disease, a common condition among adolescents, which causes swelling in the knee joints, Cavill couldna€™t exercise.


So I comfort ate.a€?There was also a lot of crying down the phone to Mum and Dad, maybe three times a day.
The resulting 2006 film a€“ Superman Returns a€“ was forgettable and played poorly at the box office. In the editing room, Snyder and his computer experts insert the background a€“ the tops of skyscrapers, clouds a€“ on to the green screen. As a kid I wasna€™t really into Superman, though I do remember the black-and-white TV show.
He told me, a€?Sometimes they treat you well and sometimes they dona€™t and sometimes the pay is great and sometimes ita€™s not. I was Superman.a€™There was a certain poetic justice in that moment, which was not lost on a€?Fat Cavilla€™ a€“ his phrase. Soon after this setback, Cavill was approached by Eon Films, which was looking to replace Pierce Brosnan with a younger, more vital James Bond. But ita€™s great fun.a€?'And then everyone else who had seen me chatting came over and started asking for his autograph. Staring back from the mirror was the once-obese teenager who had been bullied at that same boarding school where he met Crowe; the struggling British actor who had lost out on both an earlier role of Superman, then James Bond a€“ to Daniel Craig.
You build the imagery in your head so youa€™re in the moment and you imagine youa€™re flying through the clouds. That year, before we made Man Of Steel, Ia€™d had a lot of time off because Ia€™d filmed Robin Hood, gone straight on to The Next Three Days and by the time Ia€™d finished I was exhausted.
I had been to numerous fittings, through all the prototype phases, with hundreds of bits of the costume. But towards the end of the shoot, when Ia€™d done all the shirtless scenes, Ia€™d have a drink at the weekend.a€™I am loath to mention the Curse of Superman, but it is the elephant in the room. I thought, a€?OK, if Ia€™m getting close to a role that size, ita€™s a good sign.a€?a€‰a€™Instead, he landed the less prestigious role of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk in the unashamedly sexy and violent period drama The Tudors, made by American company Showtime. The series was a hit, particularly in the States, where Cavill was starting to build an influential fan base.One admirer was Zack Snyder, the director of 300 and Watchmen. I think ita€™s coincidence and bad luck.a€™Action and reaction, he insists, have led him to a point where his career will fly or plummet to Earth.
Fast forward six years and Cavill is on the set of Man Of Steel with Snyder, the director, briefing him and his fictional father Jor-El, played by Russell Crowe. With an original story by Christopher Nolan and David S Goyer a€“ who together re-booted Batman with Christian Bale a€“ DC Comics and Warner Bros have high hopes that Man Of Steel will be the first of a lucrative franchise.Published in 1938, the first Superman comic told how Kal-El was born on the doomed planet of Krypton before being rocketed to Earth by his father.


Ia€™ve been offered many comic-book movies down the years and Ia€™ve always turned them down because I never particularly cared about the characters.
Adopted by a Kansas farmer and his wife, he grows up as Clark Kent, becoming a newspaper reporter while battling nefarious villains as Superman.
As you get older you start collecting injuries and one of my main problems is that Ia€™ve got tears in both Achilles tendons in my legs.
Nolana€™s precise take on the cartoon classic is under wraps but Snyder says that although it sticks to the broad themes of the original story, this film explores the existential side of the superhero. They sent somebody down to Australia with the script in a sealed envelope a€“ all very secret. The teenager leaves Kansas to a€?find himselfa€™, improbably working on a trawler and an oil rig. The longest bike ride I did during training was 103km and the average was usually around 30km (18.6 miles) and I would ride every day. There was a lot of emotional truth about fathers and sons, their relationship, and about finding your identity that I really liked. With riding Ia€™m strengthening my legs, but ita€™s not putting my Achilles under any pressure. We did saliva tests, skin tests, and even hair follicle tests and built up a chemical understanding of how my particular body works and what goes well and what doesna€™t go so well.
It was like, a€?OK, we have these tendon tears so leta€™s have massive doses of glucosaminea€™ to help my joints and tendons.
One thing I discovered with the science is that Ia€™m massively gluten-intolerant a€“ 1oz of gluten takes my body six weeks to get rid of.
Ita€™s all about lifestyle and that means you have to do it every day, working on a film or not. There may have been an odd day recently when Ia€™ve not been out on the bike or in the gym, but mostly Ia€™m pretty good.
I met him years ago, when I was filming at his school, Stowe, and he talked to me about wanting to become an actor.



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