Be their hero, Clark, be their angel, be their monument. Be anything they need you to be. Or grow a mustache... you donā€™t owe this world a thing.
Photo: Warner Bros.

Perhaps the most joyful story in moviemaking for the past year has been the ongoing delight of stachegateā€”the absurdity of a spat between Henry Cavillā€™s reshoots on last yearā€™s Justice League and filming the just-released Mission: Impossibleā€”Fallout, a tale of impressive follicles and dodgy CGI. And now we know it all started with some good old fashioned studio pettiness.

There have been reports in the past alleging a delightfully silly level of drama between Paramount and Warner Bros. over whether or not Cavillā€”who of course, plays the resurrected Superman in Justice League, and the fantastically mustached/fantastically named August Walker in Falloutā€”could shave the facial hair he grew for Fallout to return and shoot new material for Justice League in the wake of Joss Whedonā€™s arrival as director. Turns out, according to Fallout director Christopher McQuarrie, that level of pettiness is actually true.


Speaking to Empire Magazineā€™s podcast for a spoiler-y breakdown of Fallout, Cavillā€™s facial hair was an inevitable point of discussion, and McQuarrie revealed that at first, he was willing to help Justice Leagueā€™s reshoots after a suggestion was made by Warner Bros. producer Charles Roven:

When the question cameā€”the reshoots for Justice League came outā€”Roven called me, and he said, ā€˜We need your help and we need to shave Henryā€™s moustache. We need him to come back and we need to do these reshoots.ā€™ And I said, ā€˜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.ā€™ And I went and spoke to [Mission: Impossibleā€”Fallout producer] 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 beā€”they would give us the resources to digitally fill in Henryā€™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.


McQuarrie was going to take the $3 million, let Cavill shave and go off to be the Man of Steel again for a bit, and pause filming on Fallout... until Paramount basically stepped in and went ā€œhahaha, what? no.ā€ He continued:

We said, hereā€™s what weā€™ll do: give us the $3 million and weā€™ll shut down, and that will give Henry Cavill the time to grow his moustache back, and weā€™ll just shut our movie down. We said weā€™ll do this, at which point, somebody from Paramount Pictures said, ā€˜What is going on? What are you people even talking about?ā€™ Theyā€™re like, ā€˜Thereā€™s no way weā€™re going to do that.ā€™ We were just like, ā€˜Okay.ā€™ That was the best plan that we could come up with.


And thus, a legend began: Warner Bros. was forced to digitally shave Cavill for Justice League, leading to a decidedly dodgy-looking and oft-derided effect, months of fun stories about mustache drama, and now that Fallout is out, a chance to see the (rather fab, honestly) mustache Warner Bros. didnā€™t want you to see.

Worth all this petty nonsense? Oh, absolutely.

[h/t the Daily Dot]