Though the role ultimately went to Daniel Craig, the audition helped motivate Henry Cavill toward a successful career
In an interview with Men’s Health for the magazine’s December cover story, the British actor, 36, opened up about his early-2000s track record of missing out on major movie roles — including an admittedly unsuccessful screen test for 007 in 2006’s Casino Royale.
“I probably could have prepared better,” Cavill recalled of the audition, where he was asked to reenact a scene of the first James Bond, Sean Connery, exiting a bathroom in nothing but a towel.
Though the tryout didn’t go as well as he would have hoped, the actor, who stars in Netflix’s upcoming sci-fi series The Witcher, said the feedback he received helped him to improve his craft and set him up for a successful career.
“I remember the director, Martin Campbell, saying, ‘Looking a little chubby there, Henry,'” Cavill said. “I didn’t know how to train or diet. And I’m glad Martin said something, because I respond well to truth. It helps me get better.”
Cavill may not have landed that coveted spy role — a character Daniel Craig will embody for the fifth time in next year’s No Time To Die — but he would eventually win the job of portraying the equally iconic Superman in 2013 with Man of Steel.
Cavill still had a tough go-around with narrowly losing out on high-profile roles early in his career, prior to Superman making him a household name. As he revealed to Men’s Health, the 2006 film Tristan + Isolde instead went to James Franco, while in 2008 he lost out on the lead role in Twilight to Robert Pattinson.
“I wasn’t ecstatic about not getting these things,” Cavill said of his string of denials, “but I was so used to disappointment from the acting business, and also from boarding school. ‘No, you’re not good enough’ — that wasn’t anything new to me.”
Despite rumors that he has cut ties with the superhero character that made him ubiquitous, Cavill assured he’s not totally done with Clark Kent yet: “The cape is in the closet. It’s still mine.”
“I’ve not given up the role,” he added. “There’s a lot I have to give for Superman yet. A lot of storytelling to do. A lot of real, true depths to the honesty of the character I want to get into. I want to reflect the comic books. That’s important to me. There’s a lot of justice to be done for Superman. The status is: You’ll see.”
The Witcher lands on Netflix Dec. 20.