Justice League may well have been and gone by now – to differing acclaim across fanbases and critic reviews alike – but one of the most notable elements of the adaptation of DC Comics’ most iconic heroes revolved around Superman, portrayed by Henry Cavill. No – there was nothing wrong with his performance – rather, there was something odd about his top lip, and once you were aware that the actor had a moustache removed through the magic of computer graphics, it became a little too difficult to ignore. But why did the face fuzz have to stay put? And why couldn’t it be shaved off?
At the time, word circulated that Cavill needed to retain a thick moustache for a role he was filming for Mission Impossible: Fallout, which has recently reached cinemas and has been reviewed by One News Page (spoilers – it’s very good indeed) – which seemed somewhat bizarre. Was Cavill’s role set to revolve around that stache so much that he was impervious to remove it? Why was the facial hair removed by CGI and not by a razor – and why couldn’t it have waited?
As it transpires, the rumors surrounding why Cavill had his upper lip graphically removed appear to be – for the most part – absolutely true. According to MI director Christopher McQuarrie, a spat between two studios – Paramount and Warner Bros – led to a tug-of-war over the actor’s moustache, which inevitably led to the digital removal – and it seems the director was initially willing to allow Cavill to go off, shave and play Superman during a break on MI. However, as we all know now, things didn’t play out quite that way.
“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,” suggests McQuarrie. “So, we offered the following compromise – [MI Producer] 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.”
With view to taking the money and closing down temporarily to allow Cavill to grow his fuzz back, McQuarrie then found himself at odds with paramount – who refused to relent on the shaving. So there you have it – that moustache, apparently, was all the more essential to Mission Impossible: Fallout – and you’re hardly going to forget it when you go see it…