Henry Cavill made a name for himself with his performance in the period drama The Tudors before skyrocketing to fame as Superman in Man of Steel. His career had almost taken a vastly different path in the early 2000s when he was considered to play Edward Cullen in the Twilight films.
Cavill’s difficulty with landing major lead roles earlier in his career was brought up during an interview on The Graham Norton Show in 2018. Norton pointed out that Cavill had been considered to lead popular franchises a number of times but kept losing out to other actors. He had almost been cast as Superman as far back as 2004 but lost out to Brandon Routh. He was also considered for James Bond, but Daniel Craig was cast instead.
One role that seemed like a guaranteed win for Cavill was that of Edward Cullen, the brooding lead vampire in The Twilight Saga. Cavill stated that he had heard a rumor that he was author Stephenie Meyer’s first choice to play Edward when she initially signed a movie deal. Although she wanted Cavill for the role, authors have no power over casting choices and Robert Pattinson was selected instead.
A series of posts on Stephenie Meyer’s website confirmed that the author felt Cavill would be the perfect actor to play Edward. Meyer mentioned that Cavill was too old for the role at the time of production as Edward was supposed to look 17, but Cavill was already 24 years old. Meyer had held a vote on her website for fans to choose their favorite actor to play Edward, and Pattinson happened to come in second place. She had also chosen Jackson Rathbone as one of her favorite options, but he was cast as Edward’s adoptive brother Jasper.
Cavill may have dodged a bullet by not being hired, as Pattinson is still thought of as the “Twilight Guy” despite his success in indie films. He has also repeatedly mocked the Twilight films for not making sense and was frequently mobbed by fans around the time that the films were released.
The Man of Steel star seemed to hold no grudges about losing out to other actors, stating that it can be a blessing in itself to be known as the runner-up for a major role. He certainly had the last laugh as he has since played Superman three times in the DCEU, and has reportedly been considered to take over the titular role for the James Bond franchise now that Craig has exited the series.