Man Of Steel Wasn't Henry Cavill's First Run-In With Russell Crowe

While plenty of DC's superhero movie endeavors have fallen flat, Zack Snyder's "Man of Steel" is generally considered to be one of the franchise's strongest efforts. Our own "Man of Steel" review from 2013 credits star Henry Cavill with a lot of the movie's success. In his first foray as Superman, Cavill proved that he has the star power to anchor even one of the world's biggest comic book movie franchises.

Another actor who stands out in "Man of Steel," albeit in far less screen time than Cavill, is Russell Crowe, who portrays Superman's father, Jor-El. Crowe makes the most of his short time in the film, putting in an emotional performance of a father saving his only son from the fate of a dying planet.

"Man of Steel" was the first time Cavill and Crowe found themselves in a film together, but according to a Hollywood Reporter interview Cavill did in 2021, it wasn't the two's first encounter. Cavill said that he had actually met Crowe when he was a teenager and Crowe had come to film the 2000 film "Proof of Life" at Cavill's boarding school. For a young Cavill, who wasn't all that interested in acting at the time, that chance encounter with a bona fide star was life-changing.

A life-changing encounter

According to Cavill in the Hollywood Reporter piece, he could have had a very different future. "If acting had not snatched me up at 17 years old from boarding school, there's a very high chance that I would have joined the Royal Marines," said the actor.

It was the meeting with Crowe that sent Cavill down the acting path. In a Men's Journal interview from 2015, Cavill describes their encounter. The 16-year-old Cavill approached Crowe and asked him what the acting business was really like. Crowe answered it with a characteristic gruffness. "Well," he said. "Sometimes they treat you really well. Sometimes it's s**t. But the money's good and you'll enjoy it." While this short interaction didn't exactly rock Cavill's world, what happened later was much more impactful.

A few days later, Cavill received a care package from Crowe that contained an encouraging note, which read "Dear Henry, the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Love, Russell."

Cavill took this message to heart and began his acting journey. To Cavill, this was a bit of magic fit for Hollywood. "It's incredible. If you saw it in a film, you wouldn't believe it happened. But it did."

Only 14 years later, the two found themselves both starring in one of the biggest blockbuster films on Earth. Through his small acts of kindness, Crowe enabled Cavill to become the star he is today. And with more Superman films potentially finally coming down the pipeline, Cavill's own star power is on the rise.