And while it seems like a no-brainer move now -- Cavill has the looks, chops and build; he had tested for Christopher Nolan's "Batman Begins" and Bryan Singer's "Superman Returns" and seemed poised to eventually score one of these plum roles -- the actor's name carried very little weight at the time and to hear the producers of the upcoming "Immortals" tell it, confidence in the actor leading their swords and sandals fantasy epic wasn't exactly high.
"Henry tested for us and then we stayed with it," Marc Canton, one of the producers of "Immortals," said this past weekend at WonderCon of their lead acting choice. "There was a lot of debate about him, because we got pushed back many months in making the movie and eventually we went and we stayed the course [with Henry]."
One person who was absolutely certain about Cavill the entire time and from the moment he met him was director Tarsem Singh, the filmmaker behind the fantasy films, "The Cell," and "The Fall," who had hand picked the actor himself after he ruled over all others in screentests.
"They very much hoped that I would have cast a star, and I didn’t," Singh said, noting that bigger actors had audtioned, but he felt Cavill was exactly right for the part. "I took one scene when I met Henry I just had him read something. Out of ten things [he read] he was there, in six takes, he was there and I just said 'Okay. I said some piggy’s have it and some don’t and that piggy had it.' So I pointed, and said, 'This is the man.'"
"Everybody was like, 'Okay, he’s kind of not known', " Singh continued, noting the initial reluctance of his producers who were concerned about Cavill's lack of marquee bankability. "But they stuck by me and said, 'Okay, if you change your mind we’ll go with you, and Henry never gave anybody a reason to [change their minds]."
Then of course, everyone started singing a different tune once Snyder and Christopher Nolan had cast him as the new Superman. "Until three months ago, everybody was kind of like, 'We wish it was a bigger guy, we wish it was this thing,' and suddenly he’s cast as 'Superman' and suddenly I look like a genius," he laughed. "[I didn't tell anyone] I told you so, because I’ll tell them later," he smirked. "None of [the producers] claim that that conversation happened so I’ll remind them publicly."
Are the producers happy now? "Yeah! I started yelling out the car window! What am I supposed to do? Thank you god," Canton exclaimed in a separate interview. Will it help 'Immortals'? "No question," he said. "Were you out there [in the WonderCon panel]? The [audience] went crazy."
"Immortals" hits theaters on November 11th. "Superman" goes into production later this year and won't hit screens until December 2012. --Reporting by Sean Gillane