Before becoming our contemporary Man of Steel, Henry Cavill was used to hearing one word above all others: "no." It may be hard to imagine now with his lead roles in [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) and [The Man From U.N.C.L.E.](tag:44548), but there was a time during Cavill's career where he was dubbed "the most unlucky man in Hollywood."
That's because the strapping actor was up for roles in multiple major franchises—often making it to the final rounds of consideration—before being given the cold, hard boot. Here are all the roles that Henry Cavill almost landed before donning the House of El's Coat of Arms.
1. Cedric Diggory - Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)
Let's start with the consideration that was led entirely by fans. Harry Potter readers were so adamant about Henry Cavill getting the part of Cedric Diggory (one of Harry's competitors in the Triwizard Tournament) that they started a now-defunct petition for him. Their pleas ultimately fell on deaf ears, however, and the role went to Robert Pattinson.
2. Batman - Batman Begins (2005)
Cavill made it all the way to the shortlist for another iconic superhero leading up to Christopher Nolan's Batman reboot. Along with Cavill, the list included Joshua Jackson, Eion Bailey, Hugh Dancy, Billy Crudup, Cillian Murphy, Jake Gyllenhaal and, of course, Christian Bale. Cavill maintains that he never did a screen test, but maybe that's just to distance himself from his future sparring partner.
3. James Bond - Casino Royale (2006)
After Pierce Brosnan left behind the suits and Walther PPK, there was a gaping hole that needed to be filled by a new, suave James Bond. For producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli, it came down to two choices: Daniel Craig and Henry Cavill. Cavill told Entertainment Weekly:
"I came very close."
But in the end, they decided that Cavill was too young for the role and instead went with the blond Bond.
4. Superman - Superman Returns (2006)
For Brian Singer's Superman Returns, it also came down to two actors for the coveted lead role: Brandon Routh and...Henry Cavill. However, when the project was first getting off the ground, led by director McG, Cavill was attached for the role. Once McG dropped out and Singer was brought in, Cavill was similarly replaced with Routh.
5. Edward Cullen - Twilight (2008)
Author Stephanie Meyer has admitted that she based her vampire hunk on Henry Cavill himself, and she even lobbied to have him considered for the part. In a reversal of the feedback he got at Casino Royale, a then-24-year-old Cavill was told he was too old to play the part of a 17-year-old high schooler. He, once again, lost this role to Robert Pattinson (and missed prime opportunities for smooching Kristen Stewart).
6. Green Lantern/Hal Jordan - Green Lantern (2011)
Cavill's last unsuccessful attempt at booking a superhero franchise came with 2011's Green Lantern. When casting began in 2009, his name was listed alongside Bradley Cooper, Justin Timberlake, and eventual star (and future Deadpool) Ryan Reynolds.
7. Superman - Man of Steel
This one is mostly a joke, considering Cavill ended up with the part, but it's a funny story that needed to be included nonetheless. On The Tonight Show, he admitted that thought he lost the role of Superman in Zach Snyder's Man of Steel because he was too busy playing World of Warcraft and missed the call.
"You can’t save it, you can’t pause it or anything. I’m thinking, great, I’ve lost the job because...or I’m never going to get the job."
Luckily, Snyder called back and Cavill ended up with the most high-profile job of his lifetime. Not such a bad deal after all, but even Superman doesn't like hearing rejection for years.