Formerly 'Fat' Henry Cavill Talks Weight Loss, Leaves Shirt On

Man of Steel hits theaters June 14, and the star, Henry Cavill ("Rhymes with travel," he says) has landed the cover of Details. Superman is a somewhat physical role, and the superhero's build is part of the character, so it makes sense that Cavill would be asked about his own body and eating habits. "I was fat," he tells the mag. "I was Fat Cavill."

In the Details piece, Howie Kahn writes:

At boarding school, Cavill was prone to homesickness. "I bawled on the phone to my mom four times a day," he says. "I became an easy target." Being Fat Cavill didn't exactly boost the boy's self-esteem, but it did help him form an early understanding of his breakout character's inner life. "My version of Superman," he says, "is essentially of a guy who has spent his whole life alone." Cavill overcame his own loneliness by acting in school plays, several per year, to the point where he decided to focus his studies on drama. At first, his stockbroker father, Colin, discouraged the decision. "He wanted me to get a proper degree first," Cavill says. But then casting agents showed up on campus, looking for teenagers with the right dramatic pedigree and posh enough elocution to join a filmed adaptation of The Count of Monte Cristo. Cavill, then 17, got a part. "My dad," he says, "was like, 'Okay, you have a professional job now, so great, go for it.'" Cavill's path was settled, and the role whipped him into shape. "I lost one and a half stone"—21 pounds—"and I wasn't Fat Cavill anymore," he says, arching an eyebrow and, also, settling on an order. "I'm going for the fish and chips."

Formerly 'Fat' Henry Cavill Talks Weight Loss, Leaves Shirt On

What's interesting is that when a woman's weight is discussed in a magazine, she's usually pictured half-naked, so that we, the nosy public, can inspect the results for ourselves. Pink lost 55 pounds and appeared on the cover of Shape in a skimpy 2-piece swimsuit, showing off her abs. Zoe Saldana's weight is mentioned on the cover of Allure; she wears a string of fabric on the front and virtually nothing inside. Whether it's Sherri Shepherd, Khloe Kardashian or Snooki, ladies have to take off their clothes and "prove" that they're svelte and therefore worthy of our attention. Cavill does not appear in swim trunks, nor does he appear shirtless. It could be argued that Details is more fashion-oriented, as opposed to Men's Health or Men's Fitness — both of which feature a lot more skin — but still. It seems like if Henry were Henrietta, he'd be in a bikini.

Still, Cavill doesn't shy away from talking about his struggle, and it's refreshing to read a man being so open about it:

Since the movie wrapped, Cavill has lost nearly all the bulk he put on. He no longer looks like a man-bear. "I'm not eating 5,000 calories a day anymore," he says.

He's also cut back on the grueling Tabata workout methods employed by his trainer, Mark Twight, the record-breaking speed alpinist who has become Hollywood's go-to sensei for creating musculature that looks computer-generated but isn't. Aside from his caloric intake, Cavill, showing both respect for trade secrets and a reasonable fear of Internet trolls, refuses to divulge any additional numbers. "I will say I was a lot bigger as Superman," he says. "A lot bigger. I'm not saying how much. It's modesty about the weight—I've always been worried about my weight—but I also don't want to invite that debate: Henry weighs this, so he's the perfect Superman. Or, Henry doesn't weigh this, and therefore he's not believable in the role."

[Us, ABC News, Details]