Icons / October 2017

Poetic Justice: Henry Cavill

Superman is back — and so is Henry Cavill, the quintessential British gent making the American icon his own.

Cream wool Drake shawl dinner jacket, white cotton pleat front shirt and black silk bow tie, all Ralph Lauren Purple Label; ivory virgin wool trousers, Anderson & Sheppard Haberdashery; white-gold Day-Date 40 with olive green dial, Rolex. Yellow-gold signet ring, property of Henry Cavill. Yellow-gold cufflinks, property of The Rake.

It takes a Brit to play America’s most wholesome, handsome and superhuman superhero. Superman is to the comic world what Winston Churchill is to politics: not necessarily everyone’s favourite but widely acknowledged as the primus inter pares. Umberto Eco said of Superman that he can “be seen as the representative of all his similars”. He is the embodiment of good versus evil, an immigrant bringing light to a new world, the grey man demonstrating that we are more than what’s on the surface, and that we all, no matter how strong, have weaknesses. His is a nifty allegory for everything from the story of Moses to a characterisation of the American Way. His incarnations on screen can be seen as a commercialisation of legend or our unquenchable thirst for a messiah of one form or another.

Henry Cavill isn’t exactly someone who would be passed unnoticed on the street. He has classic striking features, a strong jaw and cheekbones (at this moment slightly masked beneath some stubble for his role in Mission: Impossible 6), Roman statue physique and, unlike plenty of his contemporaries, tall. The same can be said for his entering a room, too. On arrival at London’s best members’ club, Mark’s, where we spent the day talking Royal Marines, rugby, rescued animals and his rakish instincts in the sartorial arts, there was that rare sense you get from men like Henry, who impose without being intimidating, who can find the most uncomfortable person in the room and put them at ease. His arrival with his bear-like dog, an Akita called Kal (after Superman’s real name), helped, of course. While Kal went to get brushed up for his (remarkably photogenic) cameo in our photoshoot, Henry and I took the opportunity to chat.

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Contributor

Tom Chamberlin

Editor of The Rake Magazine