Cavill pulls off Man of Steel

British actor Henry Cavill believes he executed his role in Man of Steel as an American.

Actor Henry Cavill attends the Man Of Steel world premiere at Alice Tully Hall at Lincoln Center on June 10, 2013 in New York City. Picture: AFP

LOS ANGELES - British actor Henry Cavill will be making his grand Hollywood entrance as the latest big screen incarnation of the all-American superhero Superman, in director Zack Snyder's dark and gritty Man of Steel, which opens in US theatres on Friday.

Cavill, 30, so far best known for 16th century TV drama The Tudors and the 2011 fantasy film Immortals, told Reuters that he leaned on a sturdy method to portray the legendary DC Comics superhero who celebrates his 75th anniversary this month.

"I chose not to act as Superman," the actor said.

"It withdraws from the whole reality of the story. You take the experiences of the guy, his fears of the future, his dreams of the future and you just apply that to everything you do."

Man of Steel tells the origins story of Superman and his alter-ego Clark Kent, who was first animated into life in June 1938 by comic book artist Joe Shuster and writer Jerry Siegel.

Snyder's story chooses to begin with Superman's birth on the planet Krypton, and as the last hope for his people's survival, his parents send him to Earth to escape an insurrection by General Zod, played by Boardwalk Empire actor Michael Shannon.

The film, which also stars Amy Adams as Daily Planet reporter and love interest Lois Lane, follows Superman growing up as Kent from Smallville, Kansas, and struggling to come to terms with his own super powers.

"There's something special about the character, the way he was raised, that makes him Superman," Cavill said about the character's strong values instilled in him by his farming foster parents Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane).

Man of Steel, which was produced by Christopher Nolan who directed the recent Batman The Dark Knight franchise, leans heavily on action and science-fiction as a box-office draw for studio Warner Bros, a unit of Time Warner Inc.

The studio hopes it can re-launch a new series of Superman films after its 2006 offering, Superman Returns and its leading man Brandon Routh, failed to live up to box office expectations.

IGNORING THE PAST

Walt Disney Co's Marvel studio has also scored box office hits with The Avengers and Iron Man franchises making more than $1 billion at the worldwide box office.

Cavill said he intentionally ignored the influence of past Superman performances tugging at his cape. Instead, he focused on the original comic books as his source material, creating a database of notes on the superhero.

Another pressure point among Superman's avid and loyal fan base that Cavill had to navigate was whether a Briton could handle playing the Krypton-born and Kansas-bred American hero.

"As long as I can do it convincingly, as long as I can play an American well enough, then I'm OK with that," Cavill said, drawing a comparison to the UK's beloved film franchise on super-spy James Bond.

"I wouldn't mind if an American played James Bond, as long as he's good and played the role right," Cavill added.