Exclusive: Henry Cavill In Talks For Chinatown Netflix Series

Henry Cavill is in talks to join a Netflix Chinatown prequel series for director David Fincher.

By Nathan Kamal | Published


Former Superman actor Henry Cavill is in negotiations to star in David Fincher’s Chinatown prequel series for Netflix. According to our trusted and proven sources, the Man of Steel actor is up for the lead role in the series, which has been in slow development for the streaming service since 2019. This would put him in the role of Jake Gittes, previously played by Jack Nicholson in the classic 1974 Roman Polanski neo-noir film and the less well-regarded 1990 sequel The Two Jakes

If Henry Cavill is cast as Jack Nicholson’s low-rent Los Angeles private detective for David Fincher’s Chinatown prequel, it will be a major step forward for the project. Since the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo director first announced that he was developing the series, he directed the acclaimed Hollywood biopic Mank (starring Gary Oldman) and an episode of the animated science fiction series Love, Death, and Robots, but no forward momentum on this particular project. Notably, both of those projects (as well as Fincher’s series Mindhunter) were produced for Netflix, which seems to be his home for the time being.

David Fincher has described the project as following the early career of Jake Gittes prior to the events of the 1974 movie. At the time of its release, Jack Nicholson was 37, while Henry Cavill is currently 39. However, movie stars tend to present a little bit younger these days than they did in the 1970s, so there is no real reason that Henry Cavill cannot play a younger version of the private detective in a Chinatown prequel. At the very least, if we accept that the young Jake Gittes was ridiculously jacked compared to his later appearance, we can probably ignore any age disparities. 

According to David Fincher, original Chinatown screenwriter Robert Townes is returning to write the prequel; his screenplay for the neo-noir is largely regarded as one of the best scripts ever produced in Hollywood, so that alone is promising. The original film was inspired by a series of real-life disputes and conflicts around water rights in Southern California in the early 20th century, which ultimately led to the creation of modern Los Angeles, though heavily dipping into themes of abuse, thirst for power, and murder. 

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It is currently unknown whether a potential Henry Cavill Chinatown prequel series would directly connect to the events of the original movie or essentially be the early adventures of Jake Gittes as an investigator in the seamy underworld of L.A. In addition to being ousted from the role of Superman in the DC Universe by the new power team of James Gunn and Peter Safran (ironically, in favor of a new take on Clark Kent as a young investigative reporter), Cavill’s next move has been up in the air. 

Getting on board a continuation of one of the most acclaimed movies ever made would seem like a good move for anyone, even if they did just leave a huge Netflix series very recently. Maybe it’s time for Henry Cavill to come back home to Netflix.