A Sit Down With Superman
This Friday, Henry Cavill stars as Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Guy Ritchie’s big-screen reboot of the classic 60s television series.
We sat down with the British actor to discuss gym regimes, three-piece suits and what life’s like being Superman.
Did you ever expect to be starring in a reboot of a classic TV series?
I don’t really think about the characters I may or may not play in the future – I usually just get on with it. But it turns out Napoleon is a hoot. It’s fun being him; if everyone could be Napoleon, they would be. The Man From U.N.C.L.E. is probably – no, definitely – my favourite movie that I’ve been in so far.
If there’s one piece of advice you’ll take away from working with Guy Ritchie, what is it?
The ego. He spoke extensively about it and I found it fascinating. It’s since helped me survive some tricky situations where – had I not been conscious of it or known how to deal with it – I would have made a complete k*** of myself. I’m thankful to Guy for introducing me to that.
So, you’re Superman…
Some of the time. Now I’m Henry.
But being Superman must get Henry some things he never would if he wasn’t Superman, right?
There’s a right answer and a not-so-right answer to this. What’s the best way of saying it… You definitely get more attention. The funny thing is I haven’t changed. Yeah, I’ve put on some mass but I look the same as I did before. I think it now might be a foot in the door for some people – it’s a reason to come up and talk and it adds an extra bit of excitement. I guess girls like that.
Your gym regime is pretty strenuous. What’s the one piece of workout advice you’d dish out?
Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. People always think ‘I’m gonna work out’ and then soon think ‘Oh f***, this is hard, I’m gonna stop” – don’t stop then! That’s the bit where you’re supposed to keep on going. When it gets hard is when the real work starts happening. It’s so worth it. I’m not good at it all the time; there are moments when I go “You know what? Not today.” But there are other times when it hurts and I go “Yeah, that feels good.” Don’t worry, I don’t say pretentious things like “Feel the burn” or anything.
What one item should every man have in his wardrobe?
A three-piece suit – especially the bespoke one from Dunhill because it is the nuts. They’ve sorted me out for this press tour and dude, it feels so good wearing a suit like that – I’m so lucky.
What’s your favourite city in the world?
London, because it’s home and also because it’s London and it’s epic. Rome too, because it’s one of those beautiful ancient cities that just has something in the stone – there’s an energy. The Italian way of life is fantastic – unless you want to get anything done – the food is great and the people are beautiful. It’s hard not to love Rome.
What’s the best night out you’ve ever had?
I’ve had some pretty good nights out. I would say Guy and Jacqui [Ainsley]‘s wedding the other weekend. I don’t know if I can ever go to a party again, it was that good. It can never be topped. I’m just gonna have to wait for them to renew their vows or something.
What’s the best age to be?
I’d say the age you are now. There’s no point thinking about anything else really, is there?
What’s your desert island film, book and album?
The album is going to be a strange one: The Greatest Video Game Music by the London Philharmonic Orchestra. It’s really cool. I’m not a re-reader of books so I’m going to pick two films: Gladiator and… The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
What’s the first item you’d save from a burning building?
Dogs count as loved ones, right? Okay, well ignoring people and lives, it’d be a passport. Oh, and that Dunhill suit.
The Man From Uncle is out 14 August. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be released March 2016.
Interview originally by Jacob Stolworthy for Esquire UK