One of the most ridiculous stories involving Hollywood blockbusters in recent years has to be what has been deemed “Mustache-Gate.” If you’re not familiar with the term, then consider yourself lucky. However, for those who have seen Warner Bros. “Justice League” and are familiar with “Mission: Impossible — Fallout,” Mustache-Gate is the name given to a situation where a simple bit of facial hair had drastic effects on two of the biggest films in the last year. And after months of trying to figure out how it came to be, we finally have the whole story.
The origin of the problem came down to actor Henry Cavill and his mustache seen in the aforementioned ‘Fallout.’ While production was underway of ‘Fallout,’ Cavill had grown facial hair for his character that had been used in all the scenes. Then, when the actor was called upon to do some extensive reshooting on the troubled production of “Justice League,” WB asked Paramount if it would be alright if Cavill could shave, as Superman doesn’t have a mustache. Unfortunately, he wasn’t allowed to shave and therefore, through the use of shoddy CGI, Cavill’s appearance in “Justice League” has been the butt of many, many jokes.
READ MORE: First 3 Minutes Of ‘Justice League’ Have Arrived With Henry Cavill’s CGI Face
But in a very lengthy interview on the Empire Podcast (via CBM), ‘Fallout’ director Christopher McQuarrie finally sets the record straight on why Paramount wouldn’t allow Cavill to shave his mustache. And by the sound of it, the folks at ‘Fallout’ were willing to do just about anything they could to allow for it to happen.
To get the full effect of the story, we’ve included the entire quote:
“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 mustache. 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 mustache and Henry could begin to grow the mustache back and that then there would be – they would give us the resources to digitally fill in Henry’s mustache. Because like it or not, a fake mustache in close-up on a 75mm lens is never going to look like anything but a fake mustache.
“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 mustache, 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 mustache 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.”
So, there you have it. McQuarrie, Cavill, and the ‘Fallout’ crew all were going to allow the facial hair to be shaved and then grow back, at the cost of a cool $3 million. However, studios being studios, Paramount nixed that idea and deemed their production more important than WB’s. And thus, weird-mouth Superman in “Justice League.”
To be fair, the better production won the fight, as ‘Fallout’ is by almost all measures better than “Justice League.” But really, one has to wonder if a silly bit of facial hair has been worth all this stress and money. Oh well, it can finally be put to bed, and we’re willing to bet that Cavill will think twice before growing facial hair in the future.