It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane; No, it’s a … British Actor?

January 31, 2011 stephhwilliams 3 Comments

When I first heard the news (via Twitter) that Henry Cavill was cast to play Superman in the new franchise led by Zack Snyder, I wasn’t happy. I didn’t know who Cavill was but after just one photo and blurb, I was instantly against the idea. While I’m a geek for superhero and any comic-related stories, I’m a diehard Superman fan and Cavill just didn’t seem right. So I said so. Then a friend on Twitter (@twd3lr) asked “Why?” And I thought, “Why?” indeed.

Christopher Reeve

While I’ve only read some of the comics (not as many as I’d like), I’ve seen every movie and television show made about Superman. I seek them out, make a point of seeing them. I’m a fan of the late 70s/early 80s Christopher Reeve Superman franchise (even IV), devotedly watched the Dean Cain/Tori Hatcher mashup Lois & Clark, the New Adventures of Superman, and DVR Smallville to watch repeatedly (and I do … I own seasons 1-6 on DVD and would have my own ‘Tom Welling as Clark Kent’ action figure if it were life-size, real, and didn’t piss off my husband).

Teri Hatcher, Dean Cain

Despite my obsession with Tom Welling, my fixation on Superman is not exclusive to his hotness. I never thought Christopher Reeve was all that attractive back in the day and bright blue tights didn’t help the matter. Seriously, it’s the story, the mythology, that attracts me so much. The idea of a saviour who takes on the care and responsibility for a people, to save them from evil and even from themselves … sound familar?

Tom Welling

I was pleased when Bryan Singer sought out an unknown for his 2006 Superman Returns and was so excited for it that I drug hubby along to see it. And I was sorely disappointed. While I thought Kevin Spacey did well as Lex Luthor (Spacey is a good actor anyway), Brandon Routh was just okay and Kate Bosworth was NOT Lois Lane.

Brandon Routh

So it’s about time someone puts Superman back where he belongs … in a kickass, knock your socks off, big screen blockbuster. But can Zack Snyder do that? Can Henry Cavill pull it off? Or am I just over-‘spectin’?

Henry Cavill

First, who is Henry Cavill? He’s a British stage actor best known for not being picked for other superhero reboots and the Showtime series The Tudors.  He’s British. Superman is American! I know, I know: he’s Kryptonian. But he comes to earth as a baby, is raised in Smallville, Kansas, of all places, by two all-American farmers, and becomes an American symbol of hope. Yeah, he saves the day all over the place, but he comes to stand for truth, justice and the American way. I’m sorry but I don’t think he can do that with a British accent, and unless he’s as good as Hugh Laurie at faking it in House (and no one is), it wont’ work. Before I get any snide remarks, I’m not trying to be ethnocentric or whatever; I’m just saying this is one of the main reasons why I’m afraid it won’t work.

Two, all the pics around the web show Cavill either in a GQ-esque ads or with stubble … like a cross between a rugged Old Spice guy and James Bond. Clark Kent is not James Bond. Clark Kent is not GQ. And Clark Kent does not have stubble. But Cavill’s got to be Clark Kent to be Superman. They are 2 equal sides; if he can’t pull off both, he can’t pull off one.

Finally, how tall is this dude? Superman is a mountain of a man and Cavill – at least in all the photos I’ve seen scavenging the web for info – is barely a hill.

The Man of Steel

Now I realize all of these reasons are ridiculous and shallow and say absolutely nothing of Cavill’s acting ability. Indeed, I know nothing of that ability, having never watched The Tudors. I hope I’m wrong. I hope I’m blown away. I hope I’m not over-expecting. But Cavill doesn’t embody who Superman is to me.

Of course, MTV’s spoof pics aren’t helping matters either.

MTV’s Henry Cavill imagined as the new Superman

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