Finally, Christopher McQuarrie Tells The True Hollywood Story Behind #Mustachegate
We've been using that image at the top of this post for months and months now, never turning down an opportunity to point out the inherent absurdity of "Mustachegate", the bizarre situation wherein Henry Cavill's Mission: Impossible - Fallout mustache contributed to the slow-motion trainwreck that was Justice League. This isn't an anti-DC thing, either; this is just Hollywood craziness of the highest order.
Story goes like this: when Henry Cavill was called back to do reshoots on Zack Snyder's Justice League, he had already grown a mustache for his role in Christopher McQuarrie's Mission: Impossible - Rogue Nation sequel. Obviously, Warner Bros. didn't want a Superman with a push-broom mustache, and was forced to digitally erase Cavill's facial hair in order to make their reshoots work. The results were, well, let's be nice and call them mixed.
Now, McQuarrie himself has stepped forward to explain what went down between the two studios, and the story he tells is funnier than we ever could have imagined. Here's a transcript from a recent interview the director sat for with the Empire podcast, as quoted by The Playlist:
“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.”
In other words: this came down to a pissing contest between two studios. McQuarrie and company were willing to play ball, but Paramount wasn't (this seems like a bit of a dick move on Paramount's part, if we're being real about this - sounds like McQuarre's plan had WB footing the bill - but then again, they're obviously under no obligation to halt a production on another studio's behalf). Oh, well. Guess that's why they call it showbusiness and not showmutualcourtesyandrespect.
It seems we can finally put a bow on this one, and put the saga of Mustachegate to bed. RIP, our favorite weirdo Hollywood story of 2017: you were spectacular while you lasted.