Harry Lennix Shares Cavill and Hackman Stories

In an interview with AV Club, Harry Lennix, who played General Swanwick in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, shared several memories of note to fans of the films.

Regarding Henry Cavill, Lennix said:

So I go in viewing this as an elaborate screen test, and I’m expecting two or three Superman possibilities. But there’s just this one dude, and he’s built like a Sherman tank. And, of course, it’s Henry Cavill, and he’s in one of these little honey wagons with his shirt off, shaving his face. And I was, like, “That’s Superman right there!” I didn’t know who he was yet. But then he put on the suit, and I was, like, “Oh, man…” And they had this huge fan that was blowing the cape back, and it was the original suit from the Christopher Reeve films. I was just, like, “Damn, that’s Superman. They don’t have to look any further, ever!” [Laughs.]

On Gene Hackman:

AVC: You mentioned how the roles you did before The Five Heartbeats weren’t terribly substantial, but this one warrants asking about, if only to see if you have a Gene Hackman story. 

HL: So Gene Hackman… You know, he’s from Danville, Illinois, and so, interestingly enough, are Dick Van Dyke and Jerry Van Dyke. They’re all from this little town. But we were in this scene that was supposed to be really emotional. We had lost one of our soldiers early in the film, and they needed somebody to express emotion, so they picked me. So the director, Andy Davis, said, “Okay, Harry, do this right now. Cry!” And, you know, that was kind of an alarming circumstance, so they rolled… and I didn’t cry! 

So Gene Hackman said, “Cut the camera!” And I remember he went up to Andy Davis—he’s a friend of mine, he’s from Chicago, a good guy—and he said, “Goddammit, you want this kid to cry and you don’t give him any kind of preparation?! Give the kid a couple of minutes! Give him some time! Come on!” 

For a lot more, and the full interview, head on over to AV Club!

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October 5, 2019 7:37 am

Yeah Henry always had the look and the potential. He just never got the movie to really bring it out.

The Hackman story is a good one of actor looking out for a fellow actor. Love how this director apparently thinks an actor can just cry on demand like that.

October 6, 2019 10:54 pm
Reply to  MattComics

I just read that Snyder was planning for him to be Martian manhunter… I could have definitely been behind that. Too bad Snyder botched everything up.

October 7, 2019 8:32 am