Yes, you recognize this face…this physique. He’s Superman, for heaven’s sake. But do you know much else about the complex actor Henry Cavill? We didn’t for a long time—but we wanted to. Herewith, 20 things none of us knew about this beautiful Brit, he of the numerous “Sexiest Man Alive” designations and whose latest film, Justice League, hits theaters November 17.
1. Though he first stirred our collective consciousness in his role as Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk, in The Tutors on Showtime back in 2007 (the show ran through 2010), Cavill began his career years before that with starring roles in the film adaptations of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) and I Capture the Castle (2003). After The Tudors ended its run, he crossed over into mainstream Hollywood films.
2. Cavill was actually a final choice for the role of James Bond in the 2005 film Casino Royale, with the producers undecided between him and Daniel Craig. Craig won out in the end due to his age, since the producers decided Bond should be older.
3. Stephanie Meyer, the author of the Twilight series, wanted Cavill to play Edward in the films—dubbing him her “perfect Edward”—but by the time the production actually started filming, Cavill’s time had passed, and instead of being too young for the role, as he’d been for James Bond, he was too old, and Robert Pattinson got the part.
4. As a youngster, Cavill says he was “pretty awkward and didn’t have girls fancying me. My first kiss was outside a dance when I was 12, and it was one snog and out!”
5. He’s loyal to a fault, a trait he told Elle magazine last year he supposed he inherited from his mother.
6. He was never comfortable being naked in front of the cameras on The Tutors; in fact, he says, “I had to start telling producers, ‘Stop making me take my clothes off.’”
7. When asked if he can differentiate between a woman who is genuinely interested in him or who just wants to sleep with Superman, Cavill responded, “One, you never know. Two, if you’re just looking for a shag, does it really matter? And three, are they really different things?”
8. When he was 19, he was dating a 32-year-old.
9. When he was 32, he was dating a 19-year-old.
10. He’s into fitness and has appeared on the cover of Men’s Fitness and Men’s Health.
11. He told Jimmy Fallon on his show that to get his cardio in, he (wink, wink) “runs”—and when the audience laughed, he said, “I think they get it.”
12. He took part in the Commando Challenge, a grueling charity run with the Royal Marines in Devon, England, where as part of a team he ran a six-mile endurance course, climbed ladders, crawled through mud and swam in near-freezing waters, to benefit the Royal Marines Charity.
13. Cavill has been an ambassador for the organization since 2014.
14. Despite his rise to success in Hollywood, he still doesn’t live there, preferring a more friends-and-family-centric life in London.
15. He owns an Akita named Kal, which he got in Arkansas. “I was pretty sure that was pronounced Ar-Kansas. I said it in front of lots and lots of people, but no one corrected me until I actually got there, and they said, ‘t’s Arkan-saw, not Ar-kansas.’”
16. On staying fit, he says, “I think I’ve found a comfortable balance, which is enjoyable because we all like to go out for drinks and have pizza and dinners and all the nice things in life, and not be a complete gym psycho. But I stay fit enough to feel comfortable with taking my shirt off at the beach, because someone’s going to take a photo and then it won’t all of a sudden be, ‘Hey, look! Fat Superman!’”
17. His “full backup” career plan if acting hadn’t worked out was the British Armed Forces.
18. He still longs to play James Bond one day. As he puts it, “I wouldn’t play the same kind of Bond as Daniel Craig, because that’s an amazing Bond, and I don’t think I’d be the person to outdo Daniel Craig at doing Daniel Craig’s Bond. But I would love to do a different version and just have enormous amounts of fun with it. The great thing about Bond is that every different actor can play him so differently.”
19. On giving advice to others, he says, “I’ve always been careful giving advice, because I think the best advice in the world is ‘Don’t give advice unless it’s asked for.’”
20. Asked what he is a “total sucker for,” Cavill replies, “Confident women. The world is filled with people uncomfortable in their skin. So someone who hasn’t got a front on is very attractive. I don’t date much. I’m more of a relationship guy.”