‘M:I—Fallout’ Director Shares His Side of the Henry Cavill ‘Justice League’ Mustache Saga

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brian-mcgee - August 2, 2018

While it was far from the biggest problem with last year's disastrous Justice League, the matter of Superman's strange upper lip was fairly emblematic of the film's overall lack of attention to detail.

In case you're unfamiliar with the story, following production on the film, actor Henry Cavill had grown a mustache for his next role in Mission: Impossible—Fallout. However, in the middle of production on that film, Cavill needed to return to the set of Justice League for reshoots under the direction of Joss Whedon.

This posed a problem as Superman couldn't exactly be running around with a soup strainer, so—as the "official story" goes—Warner Brothers politely requested that Cavill be allowed to shave his mustache, but Paramount refused, leading to an expensive and rather awful looking cgi removal of his mouth merkin.

M:I—Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie begs to differ with that version of events, though of course the devil's really in the details. As reported by Comic Book Movie, McQuarrie was a guest on Empire Magazine's Podcast where he shared his side of the story...

"When the question came - the reshoots for Justice League came out - [Charles] Roven called me, and he said, 'We need your help and we need to shave Henry [Cavill]'s moustache. We need him to come back and we need to do these reshoots.' And I said, 'Look, Chuck, naturally I want to do everything I can to help you, but I also have to think about our production. Let me talk to everybody and figure out what the scheduling would be.' And I went and spoke to Jake Myers, and the suggestion was made through channels that we shave the moustache and Henry could begin to grow the moustache back and that then there would be - they would give us the resources to digitally fill in Henry's moustache. Because like it or not, a fake moustache in close-up on a 75mm lens is never going to look like anything but a fake moustache.
"So, we offered the following compromise: Jake Myers calculated the amount of money that it would take to replace the number of shots, and essentially what Jake was able to project was about a $3 million visual effects budget. So, I don't know how much Henry was in Justice League, I've never seen the movie, but I can tell you how much it would've cost for Mission: Impossible to digitally add Henry Cavill's moustache, and we said yes. We said, here's what we'll do: give us the $3 million and we'll shut down, and that will give Henry Cavill the time to grow his moustache back, and we'll just shut our movie down. ...We said we'll do this, at which point, somebody from Paramount Pictures said, 'What is going on? What are you people even talking about?' They're like, 'There's no way we're going to do that.' We were just like, 'Okay.' That was the best plan that we could come up with."

Anyone that knows anything at all about movie studios will tell you that this sounds like the most likely version of events in this saga as one filmmaker attempted to do another a three million dollar favor, only to have the studio shut it down. Just another classic case of a filmmaker's request being met with the old "finger thing."

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