Cavill, who also appeared in Stardust and is the lead in Tarsem Singh’s upcoming The Immortals, was in contention for the same role around 2004, first when McG was set to direct a new Superman, before that project eventually became Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns. He was also, interestingly, a final contender to play Bruce Wayne in Batman Begins for Christopher Nolan, who is producing this new Superman picture.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill beat out a formidable list of actors for the role, including Matthew Goode (Watchmen, A Single Man), Armie Hammer (The Social Network), and Joe Manganiello (True Blood). Apparently, Goode was Cavill’s biggest competitor, having dropped out of contention for the lead in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter to focus on this new Man of Steel for his Watchmen director.
"He's got an amazing quality. He doesn't look too much like Reeve and Routh but he's big and strong and he has a very modern feel to him," an anonymous executive at Warner Bros tells Deadline, continuing, “We're really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible." This confirms what little we know about the super-secretive project: mostly, that it will be pretty much the opposite of Singer’s nostalgic Superman Returns.
A lot of folks are talking about the fact that Cavill is British, as are Christian Bale and Andrew Garfield, the two actors playing Batman and Spider-Man, respectively. It is sort of funny, but it’s crazy that anyone is offended by it; after all, Superman is technically an illegal alien, right?
In that the casting of a guy who looks like Cavill means that Warner Bros didn’t pursue the asinine idea of creating Supes digitally, while an actor played just the Clark Kent part. That notion, discussed long ago by Badass Digest’s Devin Faraci when he was still over at Chud, had me drinking myself to sleep on half a bottle of bourbon every night, then waking up in a cold sweat, clutching my favorite teddy bear in terror.
There’s a chance that the famous blue tights will be digitally created, like the supersuit sported by Ryan Reynolds in the upcoming Green Lantern. This, I think, would be unnecessary. Superman Returns didn’t fail to click commercially and culturally because of the suit, but because it was almost three hours long and Superman never once punched anything. Audiences can get past a silly looking costume no problem. Just look at Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man.
Here’s the full press release from Warner Bros and Legendary, which sort-of oddly never mentions Clark Kent:
“Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures announced [yesterday] that Henry Cavill has won the coveted role of Superman, the iconic superhero.
The film will be directed by Zack Snyder, who stated, “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honored to be a part of his return to the big screen. I also join Warner Bros., Legendary and the producers in saying how excited we are about the casting of Henry. He is the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.”
Charles Roven, Emma Thomas, Christopher Nolan and Deborah Snyder are the producers of the film. The screenplay is being written by David S. Goyer based on a story by Goyer and Nolan. Thomas Tull and Lloyd Phillips are serving as executive producers.
Cavill recently wrapped production on “The Cold Light of Day” and stars in the upcoming “Immortals,” opening this fall.
Targeted for release in December 2012, the new Superman movie will be distributed worldwide by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company.”
Does Cavill look like the man for the job? More importantly, do you think Snyder and Nolan can make Superman resonant in a popular culture that largely seems to have dismissed him as a passé artifact of another age? Will we again believe that a man can fly?