Movies & TV

How to Survive a Henry Cavill Fan Event With a Throng of Blood-Thirsty Titas

The thirst was palpable.
IMAGE Netflix / Magic Liwanag
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I wasn’t a big Henry Cavill fan. I thought he was cast well in Man of Steel, but I certainly wasn’t a fan of Zack Snyder’s version of Superman. The same couldn’t be said for my wife, though, who crushed hard on Cavill after seeing him onscreen, specifically in the iconic scene where a shirtless Clark Kent steals from a clothesline (Superman wouldn’t do that!). While he’d been acting in films and television for some time, it was Man of Steel that put Cavill in the limelight and on every tita’s radar, including my wife’s. 

That year, on her birthday, I surprised my wife by wearing a Henry Cavill mask and singing “Happy Birthday” in a British accent, which my wife says wasn’t very good. I also gave her a Man of Steel calendar so she could gaze upon his handsome face every month of 2014. November, as I recall, was a rather nice month.

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Fans wait for the arrival of Henry Cavill, beefcake, ex-Superman, and star of Netflix's new fantasy series 'The Witcher.'

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.
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When I learned the British beefcake was headed to Manila to promote Netflix’s adaptation of The Witcher, I excitedly shared the news with my wife. I knew I had to do everything in my power to find a way to get her as close as possible to her celebrity crush. I also knew that every hot-blooded tita in Manila would pull every conceivable string and call in every favor to try and do the same thing. Sure enough, on the day of the fan event, there were a number of dolled-up ladies, from their mid-20s to their late-30s, titas and titas-in-training all, who attended the press con but were clearly not writing for any publication. This is par for the course; at any event, there are a number of VIPs who get the same access as the press and then some. 

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You know it’s special when a room full of ladies had absolutely zero reaction when the dashing Matteo Guidicelli, who was moderating the press con, got up on stage. It was so special that even Guidicelli himself couldn’t stop gushing over his guest, many times stating how much like a Greek god he was. When Guidicelli went full-on man crushing in front of all the press and a gaggle of titas, you know everyone’s got Cavill Fever. 

The morning’s press con wasn’t anything compared to the fan event later in the day, though. With so much formality (and Netflix security) at the Conrad Manila, all the titas were on their best behavior. Even Cavill himself was a paragon of restraint, dressed in rather old-fashioned earth greens and browns. As I see it, he was actually doing everyone present a favor. His conservative, form-concealing attire did much to temper, if not dampen, some of the palpable thirst in the room. Even my wife, as big of a fan as she was, had her excitement curbed somewhat with Cavill’s tweed jacket and professorial slacks.

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If the man went on stage in a muscle tee and jeans, the room’s collective ovaries (and not a few man parts, too) might have spontaneously combusted. Thank you, Henry. That was real kindness on your part.

'The Witcher' showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich arrives on the red carpet first.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.
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Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.

The fan event at Ayala Malls Manila Bay was a little more lively. Some people came to the mall as early as 3 a.m., hoping to get a coveted armband for Area A, the section nearest the stage. My press badge and another I finagled for this story granted my wife and I access to the press box, which was beside the red carpet Cavill was supposed to walk through. My wife, a Funko fanatic, brought her The Witcher vinyl pop for him to sign. With any luck, she’d get it signed, I’d snap a few pictures, and my wife would be eternally grateful to me for the experience. Happy wife, happy life.

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We entered the area a little past 3 p.m., several hours before the fan event was slated to begin, and managed to secure spots near the fence, an ideal waiting place for an autograph and a selfie. Of course, I wasn’t the only one who managed to finagle an extra press badge. At around 4 p.m., a number of resourceful titas made their way into the press box. One of them waved her badge at the bouncer, who’d kept all of us actual press outside a special area, and said: “Press kamiPapasok kami dyan!” (We’re members of the press, Let us in there.) 

“We’re all press here,” I coughed. I then explained to the resourceful tita that the restricted area was only for the press with cameras. The titas contented themselves with spots behind us, one of them with a picture of Cavill and herself taken in another country during some con or promotional tour. This lady had a picture of herself in an embrace with Chris Evans as her phone’s wallpaper. Clearly a professional fan of some sort. While waiting, the titas took a bunch of practice selfies and one retouched her makeup in the middle of the crowd. 

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Here he is! Turn around, Henry! Show us your beautiful face.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.

The countdown to Cavill’s arrival didn’t begin until 5:30 p.m., but it was showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich, who was previously a writer for Netflix shows like Daredevil and The Defenders, who walked down the carpet after the countdown. Cavill arrived about 10 minutes later. 

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About an hour before that, though, Netflix arranged for the crowd to be amused (appeased?) with some trinkets, medieval dancing, and sword fights. The country’s top cosplayer, Prince de Guzman, transformed himself into Geralt of Rivia, while his wife and fellow cosplayer, Awie de Guzman, was the sorceress Yennefer. The appearance of Prince, himself already a statuesque, good-looking man, only intensified the desire to see the real deal. Geralt, Yennefer, and Ciri threw replicas of Geralt’s white wolf medallions into the crowd. 

Guidicelli interviewed folks from the crowd, calling everyone “brother,” and asking them why they loved Cavill. Some played coy, answering they admired his acting skills. Another woman gushed, “Because he’s an animal lover... like me!”

One gay man answered what everyone was thinking but was embarrassed to answer. “Because he’s so HOOOTTTTTT!” he breathed throatily into Guidicelli’s mic. And the crowd erupted in laughter. Yes, we’re all waiting here because Cavill is, in the man’s words, “as hot as the sun.” 

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Of course, there was a Miss Universe answer, too. One woman said, “Because he’s so kind,” and the crowd collectively awwwed in agreement while rolling their eyes at the same time. 

A true hero, Henry spends over an hour interacting with fans, signing posters, toys, books, and even a handkerchief and also posing for selfies.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.
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Little did we know, however, that Cavill actually is kind. By the time he arrived at the mall, about 30 minutes after the initial countdown, he stopped at the fringes of the crowd and signed every poster, toy, book, and handkerchief that was handed to him and even posed for the occasional selfie. My wife didn’t have high hopes for her pop to be signed and was completely prepared to be ignored as he walked by, but Cavill, Superman himself, actually took the time to sign autographs for as many people as he could as he made his way toward the stage.

It took about 30 minutes for him to reach our part of the crowd, and his energy had not waned one bit. My wife got her pop signed and Cavill even generously posed for a picture. Professional fan tita handed the picture of the two of them and yelled over the excited crowd, “Sign my name!” She then proceeded to tell him the story of where they met, but obviously Cavill, who had throngs of people waiting, continued to move on. “What the fuck,” professional fan tita sulked to her friends, “He wasn’t even listening!”

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'He’s so HOOOTTTTTT! As hot as the sun,' says one superfan.

Photo by Hugo Zacarias Yonzon IV.

By then, Cavill had made his slow, autograph-signing, selfie-posing way toward the front of the stage, where people had waited the longest. All told, he spent over an hour interacting with fans, if not necessarily listening to stories of when they met for the first time. He signed posters, toy boxes, plushies, and even one Lego fan’s Superman minifig cape. Cavill was so amused by the fan’s placard that he signed that, too. 

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One lucky lola, not tita, got both of her posters signed, as well as a selfie. “He’s so good-looking,” she gushed to Guidicelli while waiting earlier, and the host gave his guarantee that she would get his autographs. “I will make sure,” he told the crowd, “that you will get your autograph, lola!” It turns out, Guidicelli and lola needn’t have worried. Unless you came to the fan event hoping to have him listen to the tale of when you first met, chances are you would’ve come away from the fan event very happy. 

Stop looking like this.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.
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Cavill’s time on stage answering Guidicelli’s questions about The Witcher was a mere fraction of the time he spent with his fans. Netflix closed the event with a first look at the final trailer for The Witcher, which streams on Netflix on December 20.

When told that he was the first international star to have done what he did, to stay and sign each and every conceivable thing thrust in front of him and still gamely pose for pictures, Cavill seemed genuinely surprised. “Tom Cruise has done that, I’m sure he has,” he said, his admiration for his Mission Impossible co-star shining through. 

Look at all the happy titas of Manila in the background.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.
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Please come back anytime, Henry.

Photo by Netflix / Magic Liwanag.

He explains, “It’s important to people like myself and Tom that the audiences get to have that, because everyone has so much passion and love and you hear that people been there since 1 a.m., and they brought their kids along.”

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“It’s no bother for me to spend my time giving the time back,” Cavill continues. “I appreciate the fans. I appreciate everyone who makes all that effort, and who watches movies and TV shows and stuff and so, for me, it's a pleasure to do that kind of thing.”

It would be an understatement to say that the The Witcher fan event was a success. My wife was exhausted but elated, if a little less infatuated (thanks, stodgy earth tweeds!), and if I wasn’t a fan before this event, it’s certainly made one of me now.

The Witcher streams on Netflix on December 20.

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About The Author
Hugo Zacarias Yonzon IV
Zach Yonzon is a cake artist and co-owner of Bunny Baker
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