The Rake

POETIC JUSTICE

Special thanks to Marks Club

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It takes a Brit to play America’s most wholesome, handsome and superhuman superhero. Superman is to the comic world what Winston Churchill is to politics: not necessarily everyone’s favourite but widely acknowledged as the primus inter pares. Umberto Eco said of Superman that he can “be seen as the representative of all his similars”. He is the embodiment of good versus evil, an immigrant bringing light to a new world, the grey man demonstrating that we are more than what’s on the surface, and that we all, no matter how strong, have weaknesses. His is a nifty allegory for everything from the story of Moses to a characterisation of the American Way. His incarnations on screen can be seen as a commercialisation of legend or our unquenchable thirst for a messiah of one form or another.

“Thank God people were such dicks to me at school, because it taught me an awful lot about people.”

Henry Cavill isn’t exactly someone who would be passed unnoticed on the street. He has classic striking features, a strong jaw and cheekbones (at this moment slightly masked beneath some stubble for his role in Mission: Impossible 6), Roman statue physique and, unlike plenty of his contemporaries, tall. The same can be said for his entering a room, too. On arrival at London’s best members’ club, Mark’s, where we spent the day talking Royal Marines, rugby, rescued animals and his rakish instincts in the sartorial arts, there was that rare sense you get from men like Henry, who impose without being intimidating, who can find the most uncomfortable person in the room and put them at ease. His arrival with his bear-like dog, an Akita called Kal (after Superman’s real name), helped, of course. While Kal went to get brushed up for his (remarkably photogenic) cameo in our photoshoot, Henry and I took the opportunity to chat.

As you will know, dear reader, the dwindled British empire, which once had dominion over a quarter of the globe, is now made up of randomly dispersed islands. One of the nearest to Britain is Jersey, and this is the ancestral island of our cover star. Jersey has always had a French connection to it, but the Cavill family is aware and proud of its mainland roots. “My parents raised me and all my brothers as British, very British,” Cavill says. “My mother is Scottish and Irish, and my father is English. It has always been a matter of being proud to be British. It isn’t about turning your nose up at the rest of the world, it’s just that we are an island that, despite all the odds, managed to survive all the other empires of history and became the largest empire itself, and

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