Henry Cavill Was Almost in ’50 Shades,’ and 8 Other Things You Didn’t Know About Him

Henry Cavill at the Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada
Jeff Lipsky

We get it. You’re a fan. You know how to use Google. You don’t need us to tell you that Henry Cavill, the Men’s Journal August 2018 cover star, played Superman, or that he was in the hit series The Tudors, or that he appeared in The Man From U.N.C.L.E or that he grew a great mustache for Mission: Impossible — Fallout.

But we can bet you didn’t know these facts about the British actor (and if you do, consider yourself a super-fan of, well, Superman.)



1. He Was Almost a YA Star

Henry Cavill was almost in—get this—both Harry Potter and Twilight.

Cavill nearly played beloved teen wizard Cedric Diggory in the film adaptation of the fourth Harry Potter book, “The Goblet of Fire.” His (spoiler) tragic death doled out heartbreak for fans all over the world.

Cavill was eventually deemed to be just a little bit too old for the role. Instead, it became Robert Pattinson’s breakout—which made it all the stranger when Pattinson was once again chosen over Cavill, this time for the role of Edward in Twilight. Stephanie Meyer had called Cavill “her perfect Edward” and devoted fans wrote in to support her choice, but as production delays ran over, he outgrew the role.

2. He Was Speculated to Star in “50 Shades”

In recent years, Cavill was imagined in an ever-so-slightly more grown-up role—Christian Grey of 50 Shades of Grey. He wasn’t involved in any formal casting processes for the movie, but fan speculation and fervor was high. When he quipped about the possibility of taking a lead in the sequel 50 Shades Darker, the internet went crazy—until it turned out to be a joke.

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3. He’s a Runner

Cavill is a big supporter of the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, and he often takes part in fundraisers. Last October, he participated in the Gibraltar Rock Run, a steep uphill 5k course known for its brutal incline. Granted, it’s no surprise to us that he’s in great shape given his famously ripped physique.

4. He played Sonny in “Grease”

When Cavill was cast as Superman, there was a lot of uproar about his Britishness (or, technically, his not-American-ness). But if you do your research, you’ll find out that he actually had some prior experience with the accent, playing Sonny in “Grease.” It really doesn’t get much more American than that, even with a full cast of Brits.

5. He’s a Hardcore Gamer

When you hear the words “single” and “player” in the same sentence as “Henry Cavill,” you probably think of gorgeous women, expensive clothes, and enormous hotel rooms. But a more accurate association would be Skyrim.  That’s right—Cavill loves single-player video games, and gaming across the board.

In fact, when he got the phone call saying he’d been cast as Superman, Cavill was so caught up in a game of World of Warcraft that he almost didn’t pick up the phone.

And speaking of Superman mishaps: Cavill thought he wouldn’t get the part because he was packing 20 extra pounds that didn’t exactly look awesome in the Lycra suit he had to put on for the audition. (His high-school nickname was “Fat Cavill.”) If that doesn’t motivate you to hit the gym today, we don’t know what will.

6. He Loves Weird Animals

Okay, so he has a perfect body. But you can feel free to inform your girlfriends that he is not, in fact, the ideal husband—as a major supporter of Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, he might not be willing to address a vermin situation in your apartment.

Cavill regularly campaigns and fundraises for the Trust, located in his native Jersey (the island in the English Channel, not the U.S. state). He even has his own site devoted to the protecting wildlife, CavillConservation.com, where you can “join his Gorilla family” and look at pictures of him posing with giant bats. What was that we were saying about vampires?

7. He Did Horror-genre Flicks

Yep, that’s right. And it wasn’t some edgy, sophisticated psychological thriller, either—Blood Creek features zombies, Nazis, and Cavill getting doused in up-front blood and gore while trying to save some blond chicks in an old barn.

8. He Tried Out for Bond

It’s pretty hard to ignore the parallels between The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Cavill’s spy-thriller reboot, and the James Bond franchise. And while there are plenty of valid differences, it’s also very natural to wonder what the relationship means for Cavill. He tried out for Bond when he was 22, and lost it to Daniel Craig (a choice which he wholeheartedly endorsed when asked about it). But then again, he wouldn’t exactly turn down the opportunity—he (and his ever-loyal fans) have claimed an interest in the role.

9. He Has a Dog Named Kal

Named after the real name of Superman, Kal-El, Cavill’s fluffy pal joined him for his shoot in the Valley of Fire, and he sometimes even comes along for a Jiu-Jitsu session, too.

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