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Why Henry Cavill & The Ministry Of Ungentlemanly Warfare Cast Embrace Overkill - Exclusive Interview

When the stupidly charming Henry Cavill greeted Xoop for this exclusive interview, it was hard to believe that it was the same man seen laughing maniacally while gunning down Nazis in "The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare." In Guy Ritchie's latest action flick, Cavill plays Guy March-Phillips, the commander of the titular team that is sent behind enemy lines to cause some bother for the Nazis during WWII. It's a tough job, but someone's got to do it. More importantly, they've got to be equally as mad as their fearless and heavily facial-haired boss.

Two of the toughest members of his team joined Cavill at this top-secret meeting: Alex Pettyfer, who plays Geoffrey "Apple" Appleyard, and the team's youngest member, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, who plays Henry Hayes. They're in on the action like the classic daring heroes they play, who find themselves on a suicide mission and need to stick together. It marks a change for the director, who's known for happily going off the beaten path with his projects, as revealed by Jake Gyllenhaal, who said Ritchie wrote "The Covenant" scenes on the fly.

So how did Cavill handle his newly appointed Ministry, what was it really like to work with Ritchie, and how did he keep them all together?

Guy Ritchie keeps his crew in shipshape

This is the first Guy Ritchie film in a while in which the core cast seems to be close together consistently throughout the film. And I'm just wondering if there was anything that he implemented that made your team actually feel like a team. Because you do feel like a solid group in it, but I wonder what he did.

Henry Cavill: I think it's absolutely down to Guy. Yeah. I mean, it's down to his creativity, his vision, the way he crafts a scene on a daily basis with all of us. But it's also down to us as individuals. Whether we like each other or not — which we did, which made it easier — we're still actors, and so it's up to us to make it seem that way.

And Guy does make it a lot easier. The environment on set does feel very team-orientated, very family-esque in both pros and cons, in all its dysfunctional ways. And you just have the ability to relax on set. You don't dash away from set as soon as possible. You spend the entire day on there, and that helps create that team mentality, which I think bleeds through to our performances.

Paying respect to the Ministry while keeping the fun

And in terms of the characters, I know obviously you two [Henry Cavill and Alex Pettyfer] are based on real people. In learning about this Ministry and its activities, were there any details that surprised you were real, and did it add an extra weight to paying respect to that group in your performances?

Alex Pettyfer: I can say this. When you're a part of a Guy Ritchie movie, the main objective is to create a fun movie, you know? It's a heightened reality. It's an entertaining experience, a cinematic experience. And so the pressure of playing real-life people is kind of minimized, shall I say, because a lot of the facts that happened in the real mission are not the same as what happened in our film. But yeah, I didn't feel that pressure.

Cavill: Yeah, it's ... the same. Not much is known about a lot of these guys anyway, and so you couple that with working on a Guy Ritchie movie, which you said perfectly is heightened, there's a hyperbolic nature to the whole thing. And so you can kind of lean into that. It's paying respect to the spirit of what they went through, the spirit of their heroism and bravery, the spirit of the idea this was a suicide mission, and the spirit of the fact that it changed the course of the war. And those are the things we're leaning into. I always love to pay respect historically to these people, but it's tough to do when we know so little. I mean, I know my guy had more of a mustache like Hero [Fiennes Tiffin] than he did my beard and twirly wurly [mustache].

Pettyfer: Twirly wurly. [laughs]

Cavill: So it's just about leaning into the fun of it so it's engaging and also allows people to learn the spirit of what was going on.

Picking the dream team for the next Ministry mission

And going back to sort of a Guy Ritchie fun film, one idea that I was throwing around; if you had to pick a character from a previous Guy Ritchie film to enlist into your Ministry, is there anyone in particular you think, "He'd work well in this group?"

Pettyfer: I'm trying to be very political about my answer, but I would go "Man From U.N.C.L.E." I would bring — [points to Cavill]

Cavill: Oh, right.

Pettyfer: I love that movie. It was one of the first things I said to Henry when I met him. And yeah, I think he would be a great addition.

Cavill: What, Napoleon Solo and Illya Kuryakin, and ... I think actually a lot of people from any of his movies.

Hero Fiennes Tiffin: I was going to say Vinnie Jones from that ["Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels"]. Brad Pitt from "Snatch."

Cavill: Yeah, they're all tough enough and mad enough to do this kind of thing.

"The Ministry of Ungentlemanly Warfare" will be invading theaters on April 19 and is one of five exciting Cavill movies that will help you move on from Superman.