In the dynamic world of Hollywood, fortunes often waver, catapulting random nobodies to the peaks of stardom and often pulling down those who have been reigning at the top. For The Witcher actor Henry Cavill, this roller-coaster ride has been nothing short of intriguing.
In 2013, when Cavill was just 29 years old and yet to cement his status as the iconic Superman, he revealed how he almost lost out on the role of a lifetime when he didn’t quite land the role of James Bond.
During this same GQ interview, Cavill also shed light on his adoration for a particular movie and its lead actor. He recounted a serendipitous encounter that took place when he was just 16 years old.
As an extra on the set of the movie Proof of Life, Cavill had the opportunity to meet the revered New Zealand star Russell Crowe, who would later play his onscreen father in the film Man of Steel.
This encounter planted the seeds of admiration for Crowe in Cavill’s heart. And since then, the accomplished actor has remained Cavill’s favourite in the industry.
It was Ridley Scott’s epic masterpiece Gladiator that Cavill cited as his all-time favourite. Released in 2000, starring Joaquin Phoenix, Oliver Reed, Connie Nielson, Richard Harris and Djimon Hounsou, this sweeping historical drama, set in ancient Rome, had Crowe in the lead role of Maximus Decimus Meridius. The film not only mesmerised audiences with its breathtaking visuals and visceral storytelling but also left a mark on Cavill.
Despite the perception that Cavill has faced his fair share of near-misses in his pursuit of iconic roles, his journey has been more nuanced than meets the eye. While he did audition for roles in films Harry Potter (which he lost out to Robert Pattinson) and even the Bond series (this one went to Daniel Craig), he maintains a philosophical outlook on the matter.
He acknowledges that while he came close to some of these roles, it’s important to recognise the silver linings that accompany perceived setbacks, “I never thought of myself as unlucky. When you aim high, it’s tough to get there unless something really fortunate happens.”
Cavill’s journey to superstardom took a significant leap when he clinched the role of Superman in Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Reflecting on the missed opportunities, Cavill remarks that everything happens for a reason, and his landing the role of the iconic Kryptonian hero was indeed a perfect fit for him. In a twist of fate, the role that had once been denied him—McG’s Superman—became his defining portrayal, launching him into the A-list stratosphere of Hollywood.