Henry Cavill steps into another iconic role in mystery movie Enola Holmes, debuting Wednesday on Netflix, playing Sherlock Holmes opposite Millie Bobby Brown as the detective's equally talented younger sister, Enola. At the same time, rumors about a long-overdue sequel to his 2013 Superman movie Man of Steel are continuing to swirl, so it feels like time to find out more about this super-chiseled British leading man. By the end of the feature, you might even consider yourself part of an online fan community who call themselves the "Cavillry."
1. Though he's British, he was born and raised on the island of Jersey – which isn't actually part of the U.K.
Located in the English Channel close to the coast of France, Jersey is a self-governing British Crown Dependency, which means the U.K. is constitutionally responsible for its defense but nothing else. Cavill grew up there with his mother, a bank secretary, and his father, a stockbroker, plus four brothers. He's clearly proud of his home island and shared this post a few years ago commemorating the anniversary of Jersey's liberation from the armed forces of Nazi Germany after being occupied during World War II.
2. He attended Stowe School, a prestigious boarding school in Buckinghamshire near London.
The school's other famous alumni include Virgin founder-CEO Sir Richard Branson, artist Sir Laurence Whistler, and X-Men director Matthew Vaughn. During Cavill's time at the school, he suffered from severe homesickness and bullying, telling Vanity Fair in 2013: "I bawled on the phone to my mom four times a day. I became an easy target." He's also spoken about being given a cruel nickname by his classmates: "Fat Cavill."
3. He met Russell Crowe – who later played his dad in Man of Steel – when he was a 16-year-old schoolboy.
When Crowe's 2000 movie Proof of Life used Stowe School as a filming location, Cavill seized the opportunity to ask his acting hero some career advice, and Crowe recalls being impressed by his drive. The two actors shared the cute story during an appearance on The Graham Norton Show in 2013.
4. He also starred in a school production of Grease.
He played womanizing wannabe Sonny LaTierri, the part played in the iconic 1978 movie by Michael Tucci.
5. Nearly a decade before Man of Steel, Cavill was cast as Superman in the 2004 movie Superman: Flyby, which never got made.
When the project changed direction and acquired a new director, Cavill was replaced by Brandon Routh, who duly starred in 2006's Superman Returns.
6. For a time, he was branded "the unluckiest man in Hollywood" because he narrowly missed out on a succession of high-profile roles.
Cavill also got down to the final two to play James Bond in 2005 before losing out to Daniel Craig. He was Twilight creator Stephenie Meyer's first choice to play Edward in the movie franchise, and auditioned to play Cedric Diggory in the Harry Potter films – another role which ultimately went to Robert Pattinson.
During a 2016 appearance on The Graham Norton Show, an incredibly magnanimous Cavill explained why all these near misses are actually "a good thing" as far as he's concerned.
7. He was body-shamed during his Bond audition.
Recalling the experience in 2018, Cavill told Men's Health: "I probably could have prepared better. I remember the director, Martin Campbell, saying, ‘Looking a little chubby there, Henry.’ 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.”
8. He has no problem with saying he enjoys the lifestyle that acting affords him.
“There are some actors out there who are all, ‘Hey, I live in a cardboard box and I’ll perform on that cardboard box if I have to.’ That’s pretty much bulls**t. Acting pays well," he told The Guardian in 2015. "And anyone who says they don’t like money is being ridiculous. You shouldn’t be ruled by it, but money is lovely. Nice things are lovely."
9. In 2015, he adopted a rare and endangered fruit bat.
The bat, who goes by the name of Ben, lives at the Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust in Cavill's native Jersey. You can watch Cavill helping to feed him in this cute video.
10. He also has a dog, Kal, who's named after Superman's birth name: Kal-El.
Fans have nicknamed the adorable American Akita "Superpuppy."
What's your favorite Henry Cavill role to date?