Henry Cavill sits in a Beverly Hills-area hotel when a scribe observantly comments that his hair is a spitting image of Christopher Reeve's rendition of Clark Kent/Superman. Almost immediately upon hearing the comment, Mr. Cavill bites back that the hair atop his head is uniquely his own, thank you very much. Just the same, Mr. Cavill also took ownership of his role as Theseus in Tarsem Singh’s Immortals, which pits the new Superman actor against fellow thespians Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto, Isabel Lucas, Luke Evans, and Stephen Dorff. In reflecting upon his leading role in the epic film loosely based upon Greek mythology, Mr. Cavill talks about his workout regime, being on set with Mickey Rourke, and being larger than life on a pair of Hollywood sets.
Team Buzzine: Were you really doing pushups all the time whenever you were not shooting?
Henry Cavill: Yeah, it was a physically taxing job, that was for sure.
TB: Mickey Rourke talks about working with actors who will step up their game in front of him. How was it working with Mickey, especially with that epic battle scene you both engage in toward the end of the film?
HC: When it comes to fight scenes, there’s a certain delicate balance you have to have. You have to have the intensity of a real fight, or rather, an unreal fight, a dramatic fight. After all, no one ever fights that long. It’s usually only a couple of punches and some hugging and pushing, and it’s over. But you need to have that intensity and an extraordinary amount of control, because if you are going to be fighting for three days doing the same stuff over and over, you’d be exhausted by the end of it if you were doing it for real. So you need to make it look real instead of doing it for real.
TB: As an actor, what was it like working with Tarsem? Is he more technical? Artistic...?
HC: I think the great thing about Tarsem is the fact that he is so visual. One would assume that may cause difficulties when shooting, but it’s quite the opposite because the prep was so extraordinary. He had all the artwork and all the sets built in miniature, so we had an exact idea of which environment we were going to end up in and what world we were therefore living in. Tarsem’s visuals do not get in the way of acting at all. He would let us do our thing, and he did his thing very much behind the scenes. He didn’t allow that to affect our work whatsoever.
TB: Once Superman is complete, you will have played two larger-than-life roles in Clark Kent and Theseus. Is there any unique preparation that goes into either role? Do you have to have some sort of fantastical mindset?
HC: With something as epic as Superman, you kind of go straight to the source material. You just read that until you are blue in the face … or the suit. You take as much as you possibly can from that.
Things like Theseus -- it’s mythology. It’s all there in the stories. It’s things which I read as a boy growing up. I’ve always had that sort of fantasy world in my head, and it was quite simple to make that transition from it being in my head to making it real, or at least dramatically real.
TB: Does a film like Immortals objectify men? Is it different for men to do more physical roles as compared to women?
HC: It’s just plain faith in the director. He will let you do what you do, and it’s just the trust in him to put the best of what you’ve done together. It’s not really something I think about. I’m playing a role, I’m in the role. Hopefully whatever messages people will take are their own. I don’t think I was being objectified.
Relativity Media's 'Immortals' is released on November 11, 2011.