On Sunday, the next big screen Man of Steel was revealed to the world. Henry Cavill, the 27-year-old British star of Showtime’s “The Tudors,” was announced by Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures to star as Superman and his alter ego (Clark Kent) in director Zack Snyder’s (“300,” “Watchmen”) reboot of the iconic DC Comics superhero.
“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,” Snyder said in a statement released Sunday. “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.”
Cavill will follow in the footsteps of Christopher Reeve, who portrayed Superman in four big screen adventures from 1978 - 1987, and most recently, Brandon Routh, in 2006’s “Superman Returns” (which was based heavily upon those previous films). They collectively all featured composer John Williams’ legendary title score, which has been synonymous with Superman for decades.
This new take on The Last Son of Krypton, which is being produced by Christopher Nolan (“Inception,” “The Dark Knight”), will restart from the ground up with the Superman legend, much like Nolan’s version of Batman, which incorporated very little from previous incarnations.
“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,” a source at Warner Bros. told Deadline. “We’re really going to try and make Superman as contemporary as possible.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill apparently found out about securing the role shortly before Warner Bros. made it public knowledge on Sunday morning. Even in the deep pool of Internet rumors, Cavill’s name was never among the other actors who reportedly ended up on the shortlist for the coveted role, which had included Mathew Bomer (“White Collar”), Armie Hammer (“The Social Network”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”) and Joe Manganiello (“True Blood”), amongst others.
Although both Brandon Routh and Tom Welling (TV’s current Clark Kent on The CW’s “Smallville”) were frequently speculated as long shot candidates, their ties to previously established versions of the character ultimately didn’t fit into the grand plan for the new film.
Ironically, according to MTV, Mathew Bomer screen tested in full costume for the role when for Brett Ratner was set to direct what would evolve into “Superman Returns” (eventually directed by Bryan Singer), and Cavill was also considered when McG (“Terminator: Salvation”) was attached to direct an early version of the film from a J.J. Abrams penned script.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Cavill reportedly went to the casting finish line with fellow British actor Matthew Goode, who previously worked with director Zack Snyder in 2009’s “Watchmen.”
Script details are still under heavy lock and key; everything from the villain who will oppose the Man of Steel (Lex Luthor? Brainiac? Darkseid?), to which supporting characters may appear (Jimmy Olsen? Perry White? Jonathan and Martha Kent? Lana Lang?), are still unknown. However, we can safely assume Lois Lane (most recently played in 2006 by Kate Bosworth) will be one of the next heavily sought-after roles in Hollywood.
Before Cavill takes to the sky in the iconic red and blue costume, he will next be seen in “The Cold Light of Day,” alongside Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver, and this fall in the mythological fantasy film “Immortals,” alongside Kellan Lutz and Freida Pinto.
Superman’s next big screen adventure is targeting a December 2012 release.