The British actor has long been a fan of the iconic British spy, and over the years his own name has often been brought up as a possible replacement for Daniel Craig once he moves on.
In an exclusive interview with Yahoo Movies UK, Cavill shares his enthusiasm for the opportunity to play James Bond, as well as discusses the intense stunts he and Tom Cruise performed in Fallout, why he’d love to do a rom-com, and what he thinks about reviews following his last two DC movie outings.
Yahoo Movies UK: You are a part of these big DC and Mission: Impossible universes, are there any others you’d like to join maybe like… I don’t know… the James Bond one..?
Henry Cavill: [Laughs] Ah, James Bond.
Sorry, had to do the casual James Bond name drop.
Yes, a very casual James Bond reference. I would love to do it of course. I think Bond would be a really fun role. It’s British, it’s cool. I think that now that I have my Mission: Impossible badge we can do real stunts and really amp it up as well.
Not to say they weren’t doing real stunts I’m just saying it would be fun for me to actually take what I’ve learnt on this and carry it through to a movie like Bond. I’d love to play a Brit. I don’t get to play a Brit very often. So yes, I would love the opportunity and if they were to ask I would say “yes.”
How about a Man from U.N.C.L.E. sequel? Your film has gotten a lot more love now compared to when it was originally released.
I don’t know when or if it will happen, I had enormous fun making that movie and it would be enormous fun playing Napoleon Solo again but I’m not too sure when that would be.
So Henry, is Tom Cruise actually human? He seems superhuman with all the outrageous stunts in Mission: Impossible – Fallout.
[Laughs] I think the same! He’s remarkable in that aspect and he set a really good example and high bar. I like high bars, but seeing him fly a helicopter… yes, he’s flying a helicopter but he’s an actor flying a helicopter. You hear about him flying planes and everything but you don’t see it. And he doesn’t just fly planes, he’s stunt-flying planes, and stunt flies helicopters in the mountains.
The helicopter sequence at the end of the movie shows how good he is but at the same time, you don’t get quite the same concept of what it was like for me sitting there in a helicopter, flying through a canyon maybe one and a half of this hotel room, that narrow, granite rock faces on either side and we are flying through them and chasing each other. I’m sitting here for the ride thinking, “it’s cool, I might die,” but he’s actually flying the darn thing while performing to the camera at the same time.
Has he inspired you to push the bar further for your own stunt work?
HC: I don’t know if it’s about doing more stunts, I want to do them anyway, but it’s made me realise that physicality isn’t enough. You have to have all these skill sets, it goes way beyond just being tough or wanting to get stuck in. If you can’t fly a helicopter, you can’t fly a helicopter so I’ve left that movie with a list of licences I need to get. Helicopter licence, I’ve got the motorcycle licence, now I just need to learn how to stunt ride it. I need to learn how to drift cars, I need to learn how to do a whole bunch of stuff.
Uma Thurman spoke of her time on Kill Bill and how she ended up with an injury after doing a stunt she didn’t want to do. Have you ever felt pressured to do any?
No, when it came to all of this, coming onto Mission: Impossible, it was more of an opportunity. It was more of an exciting thing when I could jump in and do all the stuff, be involved in the process from the very beginning rather than the stunt guys building a stunt with a stuntman and then I just get carted off to my trailer every time the fun stuff happens. Now you’re part of the fun stuff if you want to be.
The first thing I said to Wade Eastwood, the stunt coordinator, and his team was, “Guys, put me in coach. No matter what it is I want in. If it’s too dangerous, give me a chance to learn the skills.” I always wanted to do [the stunts], it wasn’t because of Tom flying the helicopter.
Is this the most challenging role you’ve ever done considering a lot of films you’ve been in before have relied heavily on CGI?
Yes, 100%… so far.
Yours and Angela Bassett’s characters work together in the film and a lot of people on social media have been stanning the two of you. I’m thinking a rom-com is on the cards.
[Laughs] She is very cool.
Go with me here, you could do a sequel of How Stella Got Her Groove Back. She’d still be Stella, obviously, and you’d be the younger dude who helped her get her groove back… again.
I would love to work with Angela again.
Ok, I’ll take that as a maybe, but you haven’t really done rom-coms. Are they films you want to do?
Yes, I just haven’t come across the right script yet that’s all. I’m up for any genre it’s just the scripts have to be good and that’s important to me, especially rom-coms that have the potential to slide into rom-com territories, which can be scoffed at sometimes. But a good rom-com is great I just haven’t had the scripts come across my desk yet.
They are coming back though, Netflix is doing loads of them.
Netflix is doing well, aren’t they? They’ve really changed the game.
I agree. So your Fallout character is very much the antithesis of Superman. Are you trying to steer clear of being type-cast as just the hero?
There’s no deliberate move to do that but when this opportunity arose it just fit. I do want to show people that it’s not just [heroes] that I do, there’s more and this was a great opportunity. And the character actually was a lot smaller, to begin with, but he evolved enormously throughout the shooting process and became something a lot more complex. I’m very thankful to [director Christopher] McQuarrie about that because it’s been a lot of fun to play.
Funnily enough, it was our interview with you and Ben Affleck for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that led to that Sad Affleck meme. Since then has it changed the way you think about reviews?
It’s a tricky one because reviews are often a very personal thing. It’s an opinion, and with opinions can come strong feelings, so if you’re reading stuff and people are feeling particularly strongly about something, especially if it’s in the negative about something you did personally, it can feel like, “Woah, woah, ok, a little strong! What did I do to you?”
Other times it’s just a general critique of the movie rather than such an impassioned review of an individual instead of their performance, so you do have to be careful. I like to read reviews because I like to know how a movie’s doing, and how I did, but at times there can be the odd knife hidden in the dark there which you get surprised by. If I read a review and it starts to feel a bit personal then I step away, come back, and read it another time when I’m less sensitive.
Do you think movies have the power to make a social and cultural change or influence our perceptions and attitudes?
I do, yeah. Absolutely. We’re emotional creatures and if there is enough stuff out there that is making us feel good and positive then we carry that with us in our daily life. It’s kind of that thing if you go around smiling a lot, even if you don’t feel like smiling, eventually you end up smiling a lot naturally and you notice people around you smiling and people are happier around you and that spreads.
I’m not saying all movies should be glowing, chocolate box feel-good things. It’s entertainment and our psyches sometimes like to delve into that darker part but, to answer your question, they can have an effect, yes.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout is in cinemas from 25 July