"People have this belief that actors are able to go out there and say, 'Oh, I choose this job', but most of the time we're just taking the job we can get. We don't just get offered thousands of jobs; we might earn one job a year and that's the one we'll take because we've got to pay the rent."
Henry William Dalgliesh Cavill (born 5 May 1983) is a British actor. He was born in Saint Helier, Jersey, to an English father and a Jèrriaise mother of English, Irish and Scottish descent.
He is known mainly for his roles in The Tudors and Immortals, and for being the latest movie incarnation of Superman as part of the DC Extended Universe, as well as Geralt of Rivia in the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher, which he left after three seasons.
He's well-known for his bad luck early in his career, consisting of a long string of near-misses in landing important roles before his rise to prominence.
His roles include:
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) as Albert Mondego
- I Capture the Castle (2003) as Stephen Colly
- Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005) as Mike
- Red Riding Hood (2006) as Hunter / Pizza Delivery Boy
- Tristan and Isolde (2006) as Melot
- Stardust (2007) as Humphrey
- Whatever Works (2009) as Randy Lee James
- Immortals (2011) as Theseus
- The Cold Light of Day (2012) as Will Shaw
- DC Extended Universe as Kal-El / Clark Kent / Superman
- Man of Steel (2013)
- Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)
- Justice League (2017)
- Zack Snyder's Justice League (2021)
- Black Adam (2022)
- The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) as Napoleon Solo
- Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018) as August Walker
- Night Hunter (2019) as Marshall
- Enola Holmes (2020) as Sherlock Holmes
- Enola Holmes 2 (2022)
- The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare (2024)
- Argylle (TBA)
- Highlander film reboot (TBA)
- Inspector Lynley (2002, episode "Well Schooled in Murder") as Chas Quilter
- Midsomer Murders (2003, episode "The Green Man") as Simon Mayfield
- The Tudors (2007-2010) as Charles Brandon, Duke of Suffolk
- The Witcher (2019-2023) as Geralt of Rivia note
- Warhammer 40,000 live-action series (TBA) note
His works provide examples of:
- Baritone of Strength: Many of the badass characters he play take advantage of his deep voice. He renders it even deeper as Geralt of Rivia.
- Celebrity Endorsement: He is the face of MuscleTech whey protein and also of No. 1 Botanicals rosemary water.
- The Charmer: His characters are usually pretty laid-back and debonair.
- Dyeing for Your Art:
- For The Cold Light Of Day, he was asked to slim down his muscle quite a bit, which he admits he would never do again.
- For Immortals, his DCEU films as Superman and The Witcher, he developed a Heroic Build.
- He also extensively trained in swordplay with Vladimír Furdík for The Witcher. He also went so far as using the infamous bodybuilders’ trick of dehydrating himself for days so his skin would thin out and make his muscles more prominent.
- Fake American: Has been cast in an increasing number of American roles. Most notably, he's the first non-American actor to have played Superman.
- Fan Community Nickname: His fans have gotten the name "The Cavillry".
- Lantern Jaw of Justice: Where do you think his incarnation of Superman gets it?
- Meme Acknowledgment: Cavill's had a lot of fun with the trouble his mustache brought to Justice League.
- Mr. Fanservice:
- He gets quite a few Shirtless Scenes in his works, from Immortals all the way to The Witcher.
- While it's downplayed in Enola Holmes (since it's set in Victorian England), he does fill out his suits quite well.
- More or less invoked during one of his appearances on The Graham Norton Show, when Graham told the audience that "I think it's fair if I put the cards down and we all just stare at Henry for a while."
- One of Us: He is very well-versed in fantasy literature, video games, board games, and comic book culture.
- Let's put this in perspective here. One of the most famous stories about Cavill is that he let the call informing him that he'd been chosen to play Superman go to voicemail because he was in the middle of a WoW raid.Graham Norton: So did you win the video game?
Henry: Sadly, no.
- He's stated that he was looking forward to the release of the expansion Shadowlands as the level cap was changing from 120, which was realistically nigh-impossible for him, to 60. It was one of the reasons he got into the World of Warcraft: Classic version, which simulates the original game and its level 60 cap. He's also an Alliance fan.
- An interview when stumping for The Witcher made him this for the PC gamer crowd: when asked "PlayStation or Xbox?" he responds, with mild indignation, "...PC." There's also the other fact that he claimed that he played all three games to completion. Even your diehard Witcher fans cannot make that claim lightly...
- A video he uploaded in July 2020 showing him lovingly assembling his new PC with Barry White music as soundtrack caused a frenzy.
- During the COVID-19 Pandemic lockdown, he posted an Instagram video of himself intensely painting a Warhammer 40,000 miniature. And not just some nondescript Space Marine either, but an Adeptus Custodes Warden! You can just picture him solemnly and quietly grunting in admiration of his work upon completion. In early 2022 he was filmed visiting Warhammer World in Nottingham and was like a kid in a candy store.
- On the new set of The Witcher, he could not help but notice that the chandelier looked like a Blackstone Fortress and it was killing him that no one around would understand the reference.
- He's also a HUGE fan of Mass Effect, and is lobbying to play a Male Shepard in the rumored Live-Action Adaptation that is in the works at Prime Video.
- Additionally, as a comic book fan, he's expressed a keen interest in taking on the mantle of Captain Britain if he should be brought to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
- Let's put this in perspective here. One of the most famous stories about Cavill is that he let the call informing him that he'd been chosen to play Superman go to voicemail because he was in the middle of a WoW raid.
- Promoted Fanboy:
- He'd been a big fan of Superman for years before landing the role. He was so excited that he actually called up his family to tell them the news, and showed how much of a fanboy he was in interviews by listing various Superman comic storylines he'd like to be adapted.
- He's a big fan of the video games based on The Witcher. He landed the role of Geralt of Rivia in the Witcher series in September 2018 after lobbying heavily to Netflix's producers. The games introduced him to the novels they were adapted from, he initially assumed the games came first because the cover art was so familiar. He apparently was a walking Witcher-verse encyclopedia on the set of the series.
- In Total War: Warhammer II's expansion "The Warden and the Paunch", Cavill was slipped in as "Cavill, Loremaster of Hoeth" and on top of this, one of his abilities is White Wolf. He had previously declared the games one of his favorite (with the Total War series being one of his favorite franchises in general), and has admitted to being a huge High Elf fan.
- He's set to produce and star in a Amazon adaptation of Warhammer 40,000. He's very passionate about the franchise, as a number of entries on this page show.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome: One of the ultimate examples in Hollywood today, considering that he's 6'1 with dark hair and is strikingly good-looking, and it shows in his roles.
- What Could Have Been:
- He became rather famous for being among the top three contenders for certain major roles but always missing out, including Superman in a movie in development in 2003 (which eventually became Superman Returns with Brandon Routh), Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter, Edward in Twilight and even James Bond in Casino Royale (he's remained a prime fancast candidate for the role ever since). Him finally getting the role of Superman was seen in the fan community as a Throw the Dog a Bone moment, and it only snowballed from there.
- In his personal blog, former Dragon Age lead writer David Gaider claimed that, had he known Cavill liked Dragon Age and Mass Effect back when he was on The Tudors, he would have lobbied hard to have him do some voice acting in one of their games. Alas, now that he's Superman, Gaider laments that he's out of their price range.
- Cavill was to be committed to 7 seasons of The Witcher, but he only did 3 in the end.
- He reprised the role of Superman in The Stinger of Black Adam after years of Executive Veto and even publicly announced returning for more... only to quit again one month later after James Gunn took over DC Studios with intent of a full-on Continuity Reboot.