Justice League Producer Explains Battle Over Henry Cavill’s Mustache

Superman Man of Steel, as portrayed by Henry Cavill
Via Warner Bros.

When news first started making the rounds that Henry Cavill was contractually unable to shave off his Mission: Impossible – Fallout mustache for Joss Whedon’s Justice League reshoots, it was a humorous anecdote for sure, but not one that was destined to become one of the infamous dud’s most memorable features.

After all, visual effects technology has advanced to the stage where entirely digital characters can seamlessly co-exist and interact with their live-action counterparts, while fantastical worlds and epic battles can all be created in painstaking detail to immerse audiences in locations and situations that could never exist in the real world, but you totally buy into on the big screen given the level of technical mastery on show.

By that logic, surely removing somebody’s facial hair would be a piece of cake, especially in a $300 million superhero blockbuster? As it turns out, the very first scene of Justice League‘s dismal theatrical cut answered that question with a firm and resolute “absolutely f*cking not”.

Henry Cavill’s top lip appears to be operating independently from the rest of his face, and it’s jarring to say the least. It was the appetizer to the sh*tshow that was Whedon’s Justice League, and in a new interview producer Charles Roven dived into the machinations behind Mustachegate.

“Also the fact that we were dealing with very complicated scenes. They were so complicated in terms of their structure and the additional shooting issues, and of course we also had the fact that we were hoping for Henry to shave his beard. We were very worried that we weren’t going to be able to accomplish that in a way that wasn’t visible. And in fact we were right to be worried about that. To open a movie with your Superman and have his face look funny, I wouldn’t say that was one of the great decisions that were made.

But it was a decision that was made because of many other things, as opposed to protecting the movie. It was a decision that was made to protect a release date, all of the promotional partners who were tied into that release date, all of the theaters that had booked things around that release date. The fact that IMAX was tied into that, that it was Christmas, that it would mean a lot of revenue for Warner Bros. at that particular time. They had no big, huge Christmas blockbuster to replace it with.”

Having already spent a small fortune on Justice League by reshooting the majority of Zack Snyder’s footage anyway, you’d have thought Warner Bros. could have at least stumped up the $3 million Paramount were asking for as compensation to shut down Fallout and allow Cavill to regrow his mustache once he was finished suiting up as Superman, but it wasn’t to be.