Codpiece of the action
Hot young thesp Henry Cavill makes a helluva nude Tudor
“The fun thing about playing a duke was that I got to act arrogant,” announces Henry Cavill. He is talking about his part as Charles Brandon, the 1st Duke of Suffolk, in the much-awaited TV romp The Tudors. The show is a hit in America, with Jonathan Rhys Meyers portraying Henry VIII as a medieval Hugh Hefner. “Yup, it is pretty steamy,” says Cavill, who has to whip his clothes off to bonk Princess Margaret (Henry VIII’s sister, not Linley’s mum, silly), played by the sultry Gabrielle Anwar. “It was the most graphic sex scene I have ever done. I was fully naked with my back to the camera, bum and everything, although we did wear modesty pouches.”
The fine-featured Cavill – a fresh-faced, straight Rupert Everett – is no stranger to sex scenes with older women. At 18, just out of Stowe, he played Roman Polanski’s wife Emmanuelle Seigner’s teenage love interest in Laguna: “I was so nervous as she was much older than me. But I’ve always fancied older women rather than women my own age.”
At 24, Cavill is already very much a man of the world – so much so that Casino Royale director Martin Campbell was keen for him to play Bond. In the end he was too young and lost out to Daniel Craig. He didn’t, however, lose out on modelling contracts – he recently finished shooting ads for the new Dunhill fragrance. Any ‘Blue Steel’ or ‘Magnum’ poses? “God, I hope not,” he says, laughing. So how did he get into acting? “I was in the right place at the right time. I’d always enjoyed acting at school and a casting group came to Stowe to look for an actor to play Albert Mondego in The Count of Monte Cristo. I got the part.” He was 17 and hasn’t looked back since.
Next up is Joel Schumacher’s Town Creek, about a Third Reich cult, and then it’s a small part in Matthew Vaughn’s fantasy-adventure flick Stardust. “My character is unpleasant,” he says. “He has floppy hair and a moustache and is so arrogant it borders on ridiculous.” For the moment, he is in Dublin filming the second series of The Tudors, which he tells me is focused more on the political and internal workings of the court than the sexual antics. Politics – bah. Let’s hope he gets his kit off again or his female fans will be most disappointed. Ticky Hedley-Dent.