Prior to the release of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, Henry Cavill took to the streets of New York City to refute the belief that Superman's disguise (as Clark Kent) would be ineffective in the real world. He proved his point with staggering results. Despite his chiseled jaw, dimpled chin, and soul piercing blue eyes, no one recognized him as the man behind the modern Superman. Not to mention the fact that he was even sporting a fetching Superman T-shirt.
You can watch Cavill's description of his day in Time Square on Jimmy Kimmel Live! below.
The recent "Cavill phenomenon" begs the question...why doesn't anyone recognize one of the most attractive men of our generation? I have a few thoughts of my own on the matter.
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1. His Career Path
Cavill's first role in the public realm was in the film adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo (2002). From there he was cast in a few minor television shows and was even the spokesman for the 2008 campaign of Dunhill Fragrance Collection for men.
Cavill had not been in many feature films prior to his dazzling performance in the Man of Steel (2013). Before the release of Man of Steel, Cavill's only large film role was that of Theseus in Immortals (2011). Unless of course, you have fond memories of the strapping young Humphrey in Stardust (2007).
From 2007 to 2010 Cavill graced our television screens in the role of Charles Brandon Duke of Suffolk, a prominent character in the acclaimed historical drama The Tudors. Despite both the critic and audience praise of The Tudors, the show did not gain the hefty cult following that could have boosted Cavill's national recognition.
2. His Ever-changing Appearance
In order to play his various roles, Cavill's appearance has undergone numerous changes. He has been blonde, brunette, scruffy, clean shaven, and even sported a ponytail for the final season of The Tudors
Even changes in Cavill's beard can drastically manipulate his overall appearance.
3. The Accent
Contrary to his impeccable American accent in the Superman films, Cavill is in fact British. This fact surprised many of the fans of Man of Steel in 2003 when Cavill spoke in his natural accent during interviews.
4. The Super-suit
The primary subject matter for the promotion of recent Superman films has been the suit itself. The suit is in the forefront of the advertisements while Cavill's face is shrouded in shadow or light.
5. The Superman Effect
Cavill was introduced to many fans as Superman and in their eyes, he is Superman. They have trouble picturing him acting in other roles let alone walking around Time Square like a normal person. Just as the Superman's suit gives him a supernatural air of mystery, the role itself is keeping fans from seeing Cavill. Instead they see the suit and fail to separate the man from the legend. Batman vs Superman should help with this differentiation process, not only because Cavill is receiving more air time (playing himself), but also because this film takes an in depth look at Superman's humanity. Many of the other actors who are currently portraying superheroes on the silver screen had well known film careers prior to this role. Therefore, they are not quite as defined by this role.