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Henry Cavill talks MAN OF STEEL and RED SON inspiration

Henry Cavill proved to me with his turn as Theseus in Immortals that he has what it takes to be Superman in Man of Steel. This is by far my most anticipated films of 2013. Cavill recently sat down with our friends at HeroComplex to talke about Man of Steel and he revealed some cool stuff, including insight he gained from the Red Son comic.
Here is an excerpt from the interview, be sure to visit the reference link below to read the whole interview:
GB: Superman and Clark Kent are two sides of the same coin — is there one of them that you have better or quicker affinity for when you walk on to the set?

HC: Hmmm. I have to be very careful what I say, only because I’ll get excited and talk about my process and then I might reveal too much stuff. Both are difficult and easy to play in their respective ways. Essentially, yes, one is a disguise but the one that’s not a disguise is so unreal that brings difficulties of its own with it. I mean, once the shroud is cast off, yeah, there’s that — but he can fly. [Laughs] Overall, there’s no one that’s easier or less easy than the other. It is a lot of fun having two characters in one role which are so intertwined with each other. It’s the same person, definitely, but it’s the presentation. And that is fun.

GB: Superman and Clark Kent are two sides of the same coin — is there one of them that you have better or quicker affinity for when you walk on to the set?

HC: Hmmm. I have to be very careful what I say, only because I’ll get excited and talk about my process and then I might reveal too much stuff. Both are difficult and easy to play in their respective ways. Essentially, yes, one is a disguise but the one that’s not a disguise is so unreal that brings difficulties of its own with it. I mean, once the shroud is cast off, yeah, there’s that — but he can fly. [Laughs] Overall, there’s no one that’s easier or less easy than the other. It is a lot of fun having two characters in one role which are so intertwined with each other. It’s the same person, definitely, but it’s the presentation. And that is fun.

GB: In “Immortals,” you play Theseus, the son of a god who is reluctantly pushed to a date with destiny after the violent death of his mortal mother. Is there anything instructive in that as far your approach to Superman and trying to make relatable for a contemporary moviegoing audience? Both are heroic, earnest, honest and, in a way, both feel like characters of another time when you consider the relentlessly ironic age we live in.

HC: It is quite easy with a mythology-based story, really, because they’re designed to connect with an audience. Everyone is different, they have their different viewpoints on life, and different people will connect with Theseus or they won’t. Hopefully, we’ve given it enough of a general field of personality that almost everyone will have something they connect with in the character. It’s not something I deliberately thought about because that’s not who Theseus is; he doesn’t [care] about what people think. He exists because he exists, he doesn’t bend toward anyone or anything.

GB: What are some of the key differences you see between Kal-El of Krypton and Theseus of ancient Greece?

HC: If Theseus had super powers, he would be the Superman who didn’t grow up with the Kents. He would be the Superman who grew up in an unpleasant upbringing. You can imagine how scary and angry Superman would be as a personality if he fell into a broken family where the father cheats or there’s abuse. You can imagine how he would develop as an emotional person. It’d be a bit like the story in “Red Son,” he’s not evil but he’s very different because of environment. The upbringing of Theseus is the polar opposite — the absolute negative of — the upbringing that the Kents gave Superman. The interesting thing is that his upbringing makes Theseus a violent and dangerous force but at his core he is good and he wants to do good but it takes a lot of convincing to get him to a point where he thinks the world is worth it.

GB: That “Red Son” reference you made — that’s something that will catch the eye of comic book fans when they read it.

HC: Oh, yes, I’ve done my research. I stocked up on source material and buried my head in it for a while …. I didn’t see a lot of comic books growing up. At boarding school there wasn’t much time for much of anything except education. Up until I was 13 [before I arrived at Stowe School] it wasn’t so bad, but at boarding school you are there and there’s a small village nearby but you are not getting to stop by a shop on the way home to buy a book. I mean, you might get a chance to watch a little TV at some stage of the day but otherwise you’re in class, studying, eating, playing sports or sleeping. I didn’t get a chance to indulge in comics as a kid, which I’m actually quite happy about because as an adult I get to read the best of it. I can pick up a whole series and read them in one go, too, I don’t have to wait a week or a month for the next issue to come out. It’s like watching a box set of a TV show, you can go nonstop. I like sitting there and diving in until I’m brain dead. And I do enjoy them; as an adult I have retained my sense of wonder and love of stories and fantasy world. I really liked “Death of Superman” and “Return of Superman,” those are my favorite ones, and “The New 52” is great stuff and “Earth One,” although I know people think that is a mixed bag. With “Red Son,” I thought it was interesting as a different perspective. It was out there and I like that. It was essential to my character research, too. When you’ve got two polar opposite viewpoints of the same character, you will see what the authors consider the important baseline trend. I got to see that and see the different ways he would have developed and that was very useful to me. And because we are retelling the story and we are doing our own reinvention and a modernization for the screen, I get the opportunity to add my own interpretation of how he developed. So that was cool to look at “Red Son” and see what changed, what didn’t change and what that reveals about the baseline of Superman. You can find what is essential to Superman and what is nature vs. nurture by locating that baseline.

GB: I always smile a bit when fans lash out and say some new interpretation of Superman is inaccurate because usually at the center of that criticism there’s an unrecognized assumption that the “real” Superman was whatever version they read or watched when they were at a formative age. The character changes constantly according to the year and the medium. Even the most fixed parts of his mythology and visage have a wobble and blur if you step back and really look at it clinically.

HC: Absolutely, and everyone will take what they want and everyone will have their favorites. And I think it’s great that it does change. It should change and should evolve. I think “The New 52″ stuff is fantastic because it is an evolution of the character. Initially, people will just rail against it and others will love it and they debate it. They care, which is great, but all of it is part of this evolution and in 30 years they will forget. In three decades when someone dares to put a pair of red underpants on the outside [of Superman's costume] again,  someone will go crazy and say, ‘What are you doing?! This isn’t Superman anymore!’ It’s all mythology and people take what they want from it …. Superman is a bit more clear-cut than Theseus but people can still look into the character of Superman and have polar opposite opinions about what he is and who he is. That’s the wonder of mythology. We make the interpretations and hear the messages we want to hear.

 

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