Henry Cavill (born 5 May 1983) is an British actor. He is known for his portrayal of the DC Comics character Superman in the DC Extended Universe, Geralt of Rivia in the Netflix fantasy series The Witcher (2019–present), as well as Sherlock Holmes in the Netflix Original Enola Holmes (2020).
Cavill began his career with roles in the feature adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and I Capture the Castle (2003). He later appeared in supporting roles in several television series, including BBC’s The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, ITV’s Midsomer Murders, and Showtime’s The Tudors. He has since appeared in numerous major Hollywood films, such as Tristan & Isolde (2006), Stardust (2007), Blood Creek (2009), and Immortals (2011).
Cavill gained international recognition with his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe superhero films Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), and Justice League (2017). He also starred in the action spy films The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015) and Mission: Impossible – Fallout (2018).
Cavill was born the fourth of five boys on Jersey in the Channel Islands to a Catholic family. His mother, Marianne Dalgliesh, was a secretary in a bank, and his father, Colin Cavill, was a stockbroker. He was educated at St Michael’s Preparatory School in Saint Saviour, Jersey, before attending Stowe School in Stowe, Buckinghamshire. In 2000, while playing rugby, sixteen-year-old Cavill met actor Russell Crowe who was shooting on location at the Stowe School for the film Proof of Life. The actor shared some acting tips and later sent a package to his boarding school. The two actors later worked together on Man of Steel.
Cavill at the Whatever Works premiere in 2009
Cavill began his film career with a role in Laguna (2001) and Kevin Reynolds’ adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). He continued with appearances in BBC’s The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (2002), the television film Goodbye, Mr. Chips (2002), and the television series Midsomer Murders (2003). In 2003, he had a supporting role in I Capture the Castle, followed by Hellraiser: Hellworld (2005), Red Riding Hood (2006) and Tristan & Isolde (2006). He had a minor role in Matthew Vaughn’s adaptation of Stardust (2007).
From 2007 to 2010, Cavill had a leading role in Showtime’s television series, The Tudors, as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. The series was well-received: it was nominated for a Golden Globe in 2007 and won an Emmy in 2008. Cavill gave the show credit for bolstering his career: “It’s done the most for me to date. […] Now that there’s an audience somewhere in America that’s aware of who I am, I have more sell-ability, because of The Tudors.” Entertainment Weekly named him the “Most Dashing Duke” and praised his work on The Tudors for displaying “charm, depth and a killer bod”.
Cavill had been set to play Superman in McG’s 2004 film, Superman: Flyby. McG pulled out of the project and direction was taken over by director Bryan Singer, who recast Brandon Routh as the lead in Superman Returns. Cavill was also the cause of a write-in effort from fans to see him cast as Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005).
The role eventually went to Robert Pattinson. Stephenie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, was outspokenly in favour of Cavill playing the character of Edward Cullen in the Twilight film, calling him her “perfect Edward”. However, by the time production of the film began, Cavill was too old to play the character, and again the role went to Pattinson.
In 2005, Cavill was a final choice for the role of James Bond in Casino Royale. The producers and director Martin Campbell were torn between him and Daniel Craig; reportedly Campbell supported Cavill but the producers preferred an older Bond. Craig ultimately landed the role. However, 15 years later, in 2020, he became a strict contender for Bond’s role following Craig’s retirement from the role in No Time to Die, having done so by a choice of an A.I.
Despite reports that he was a contender for Batman in Batman Begins, Cavill confirmed that he never auditioned for, nor was offered, the role. He starred in director Joel Schumacher’s horror film, Blood Creek (2008), and had a supporting role in Woody Allen’s comedy film Whatever Works (2009).
Cavill played the lead role of Theseus in Tarsem Singh’s mythological film, Immortals, released 11 November 2011. Cavill starred, alongside Bruce Willis, in The Cold Light of Day released in 2012.
On 30 January 2011, it was announced that Cavill had been cast in the role of Clark Kent / Superman in director Zack Snyder’s Man of Steel. Snyder called Cavill “the perfect choice to don the cape and S shield.” Entertainment media applauded Henry Cavill on his road to success. On being chosen for the role, Cavill commented, “In the pantheon of superheroes, Superman is the most recognized and revered character of all time, and I am honoured to be a part of his return to the big screen.”
Cavill reprised the role of Superman in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, a 2016 sequel which featured a crossover with Batman and Wonder Woman. In 2017, Cavill returned as Superman in Justice League. According to his manager Dany Garcia, Cavill is working on a new standalone Superman movie. Shortly after the release of Justice League, Cavill revealed he is under contract to play Superman in one more film.
Cavill has expressed interest in taking over the role of James Bond when Daniel Craig gives it up. He co-starred with Armie Hammer in the film version of spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E. He appeared at the San Diego Comic-Con in disguise to surprise the cast of Suicide Squad.
In 2018, Cavill co-starred as August Walker in the action spy film Mission: Impossible – Fallout. Also that year, he starred in the psychological thriller Night Hunter (originally titled Nomis). On 4 September 2018, it was announced that Cavill will be portraying the protagonist Geralt of Rivia in the Netflix adaptation of The Witcher. The series premiered on 20 December 2019. The series had its early premiere on Służewiec Racetrack in Warsaw on 18 December 2019.
On 27 June 2019, it was announced that Cavill would portray Sherlock Holmes in Legendary Entertainment’s film adaptation of The Enola Holmes Mysteries, with Millie Bobby Brown in the titular role.
In September 2020, Cavill reportedly signed on a new deal with DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures of reprising his role as Superman in the DC Extended Universe for three more films.
In the media
Cavill was named one of GQ’s 50 best dressed British men in 2012.
In December 2013, Cavill was named “World’s Sexiest Man” by British Glamour magazine. The same year, Empire magazine placed him third on their list of “The 100 Sexiest Movie Stars 2013”.
In early 2008, Cavill became the face of the British fragrance Dunhill. A television commercial for the brand featured a suited-up Cavill walking through the Union Jack, before boarding a helicopter. A second television commercial featured Cavill driving a car through a deserted London at night, and meeting a young woman.
Cavill is a spokesman for the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, and an ambassador for The Royal Marines Charity. He launched the running phase of the Royal Marines 1664 Challenge and took part in The Gibraltar Rock Run 2014.
In August 2014, Cavill took part in an Ice Bucket Challenge in support of the ALS Association where he was soaked with six large buckets of water, while wearing his full Superman costume.
Cavill resides in South Kensington, London with his American Akita dog, Kal. He was engaged to English show jumper Ellen Whitaker from 2011–12.
In 2018, Cavill started practising Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having been seen training at Roger Gracie’s academy in London.
He has been an avid PC gamer since childhood, missing the call to play Superman because of World of Warcraft and crediting his experience playing The Witcher video game series before the show was in production as his motivation to seek out the role of Geralt.
He has also named the Total War series of strategy games to be among his favourites, and in May 2020 it was announced that a new character based on Cavill and his Witcher character Geralt would be added to Total War: Warhammer 2 via DLC; Cavill, Loremaster of Hoeth. Cavill also enjoys the Warhammer 40,000 series of games and fiction, saying he “genuinely can’t get enough of the lore they have built over the decades”.
He is a fan of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Cavill is also an avid fan of rugby, and is a season ticket holder for his hometown club Jersey Reds.
|2002||The Count of Monte Cristo||Albert Mondego|
|2003||I Capture the Castle||Stephen Colley|
|2006||Tristan & Isolde||Melot|
|2006||Red Riding Hood||The Hunter|
|2009||Whatever Works||Randy Lee James|
|2009||Blood Creek||Evan Marshall|
|2012||The Cold Light of Day||Will Shaw|
|2013||Man of Steel||Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman|
|2015||The Man from U.N.C.L.E.||Napoleon Solo|
|2016||Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice||Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman|
|2017||Sand Castle||Capt. Syverson|
|2017||Justice League||Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman|
|2018||Mission: Impossible – Fallout||August Walker / John Lark|
|2018||Night Hunter||Lt. Walter Marshall|
|2020||Enola Holmes||Sherlock Holmes|
|2002||The Inspector Lynley Mysteries||Chas Quilter||Episode: “Well-Schooled in Murder”|
|2002||Goodbye, Mr. Chips||Soldier Colley||Television film|
|2003||Midsomer Murders||Simon Mayfield||Episode: “The Green Man”|
|2007–2010||The Tudors||Charles Brandon||Main role|
|2019–present||The Witcher||Geralt of Rivia||Lead role|
|2021||Zack Snyder’s Justice League||Clark Kent / Kal-El / Superman||4 episodes|
|TBA||Squadron 42||Ryan Enright|