In “Man of Steel,” actor Henry Cavill faced the challenge of reinventing perhaps the most iconic superhero of all time, Superman, for a new generation. But Cavill told MTV News that the only pressure he felt was what he put on himself, which is the same he would apply for any role he tackled.
“The pressure was obviously there,” Cavill said. “I was aware of it. But I didn’t want to acknowledge it because I’m going to put my all into every character I play — so there was always that pressure from myself.”
Cavill suggested that spending time contemplating the enormous legacy of the character might have affected his ability to play him as effectively as possible.
“If I were to sort of acknowledge the worldwide pressure, it would probably negatively affect my performance,” he said. “I’d be less efficient at telling my story than more efficient — and that was the most important, thing, doing justice to the character.”
The film offers audiences a different kind of Superman — an alien raised on Earth who struggles to discover his identity. But Cavill said that the character is less about considering his potential as a hero and more about trying to find his place in a world where he can’t get comfortable.
“I’m not too sure if he’s thinking of his destiny,” Cavill observed. “He’s just thinking, ‘OK, what am I? Why am I? I wish I had these answers. How am I going to be OK just doing this?’ It’s only after he discovers stuff that the introduction to Jor-El happens that his perception changes.”
Cavill also said that it’s Superman’s persistence, and his integrity, even when he doesn’t know who he is, that truly makes him Superman. “It’s just, ‘OK, how am I going to make what I am work because it’s not easy,’ ” he said. “I could fall down, and be a wimp about it, or make it work, and make it work as best you can.”
“That’s one of the most important qualities of Superman,” Cavill observed. “He’s not lay down and die. It’s hard, but you’re going to have to deal with it.”