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Man of Steel – Henry Cavill’s responsibility on being Superman

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Man of Steel - Henry Cavill
Man of Steel - Superman (Henry Cavill) ©2013 Warner Bros.
Man of Steel - Henry Cavill
Man of Steel – Superman (Henry Cavill) ©2013 Warner Bros.

Following in the footsteps of George Reeves, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain and Brandon Routh, British actor Henry Cavill now takes on the persona of Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel.

As his planet Krypton is destroyed, baby Kal-El is sent to earth by his father, Jor-el (Russell Crowe), where he is found by Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner), who raising him as his son, Clark. As his journey continues, Clark is determined to discover where he came from and what he was sent here to do. The one person who has the power to turn his world upside down is Lois Lane (Amy Adams), an investigative journalist who works for The Daily Planet.

On Soundstage 23 at Warner Brothers Studio, surrounded by the stunning costumes for the movie, Henry Cavill spoke of playing one of the most iconic figures in comic books and on the big screen.

Did you feel some sort of responsibility playing Superman? And how did you find your way into such an iconic character?

Man of Steel - Henry Cavill
Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) on his family’s farm ©2013 Warner Bros

Playing an icon you don’t try to be an icon, because that defeats the purpose. The responsibility attached is enormous and the realization that it really matters meant that I wanted to put the most amount of work into representing the character properly.

That especially applied when I was working out in the gym. When you feel you can’t push any harder or you can’t lift anymore weight,  you think, ‘Hold on a second, I’ve got to look like Superman. There’s a whole lot of people out there who are relying on me to be that Superhero.’

Can you talk about Clark’s conflicted journey throughout the movie?

Man of Steel - Henry Cavill
Superman (Henry Cavill) in flight ©2013 Warner Bros.

As far as the conflict that he goes through, it wasn’t about classic Superman material. So when you see Clark traveling through the world and trying to work out what and who and why he is, I didn’t go to source material for that, I just applied my own life.

As actors, it’s quite a lonely existence unless you have someone traveling with you the entire time. You spend a lot of time by yourself. You meet new people, you make temporary family and you love them and then you never see them again potentially, apart from the press conference.

You just apply that to the character and that’s exactly what he experiences; new groups of people constantly and then disappearing again and having to introduce himself to these other people and prove to them he’s a nice guy and tries to do all the right stuff.

How was it doing the flight scenes?

Man of Steel - Amy Adams, Henry Cavill and Antje Traue
Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Superman (Henry Cavill) and Faora-Ul (Antje Traue) ©2013 Warner Bros

There was a lot of rehearsal involved. When it came to actual super speed flight it was mostly belly pan work. Belly pan is the mold of the front of a person’s body and you lie in it and there’s a special gimble created.

There’s a man in a green suit moving it depending on Zack’s direction, and I just have to imagine what it’s like to fly, with lots of help from Zack’s imagery and direction attached to it.

There was also a lot of wire work that we did during the whole stunt process. That was incredibly complex, and the guys tested it amazingly.

That was probably the fun-est part for me in regards to flying because I got to be 40 feet up in the air and just completely in someone else’s control, thank goodness.

That was the stuff that made [me] feel like flight and Superman.

Henry was asked if he took any characteristics from actors who had played the role before. Click below to listen to his answer

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Man of Steel - Henry Cavill and Amy Adams
Superman (Henry Cavill) and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) ©2013 Warner Bros

Amy Adams was asked to talk about the movie’s new take on Lois Lane. Click below for her reply.

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