I’m having an afternoon beer with Superman.
More specifically, I’m having a proper British pint, a golden, glistening glass whose shimmering depths promise all the glory of that most fleeting of moments: the English summertime. It’s a rare sunny day in west London. We’re sitting in the sweltering beer garden of a pub in leafy Twickenham—near where England’s national team plays rugby union, the bone-crunching football-with-no-helmets battle royale often described as “a hooligan’s game played by gentlemen”—and 32-year-old Henry Cavill is drinking his second pint of pilsner top (a pilsner with a dash of lemonade) and radiating contentment.
Cavill is wearing a shapeless dark green Royal Marines hoodie (his brother Nik is a lieutenant colonel who served three tours in Afghanistan and in the invasion of Iraq) and sporting a wildly tangled beard that would guarantee his anonymity had he not spent much of 2013’s blockbuster Man of Steel sporting, well, a wildly tangled beard. But no one bothers him. We are far from Hollywood, in every sense. “If I suggested to an American journalist that we do an interview over a beer,” says Cavill, “they’d find it very weird.” (Full disclosure: I am also British.)