A photo of Henry Cavill’s Superman with the mustache that was digitally removed in Justice League has finally found its way onto the internet – and no, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke. Cavill grew the mustache for his role in Mission: Impossible – Fallout, but had to return for extensive Justice League reshoots in the middle of Fallout‘s production. Since Paramount Pictures wouldn’t allow him to shave off the mustache in the middle of filming, it had to be digitally removed in post-production, leaving Cavill’s Superman with a strange CGI upper lip and chin.
Presumably to avoid feeding into the public fascination with “Mustache Superman” (and, by extension, Justice League‘s reshoots), Warner Bros. carefully avoided releasing any behind-the-scenes footage or photos of Cavill with the mustache. However, more than a year after the movie arrived in theaters, a photo of Superman in all his mustachioed glory has finally emerged.
The photo is the main image on the website of Justice League re-recording mixer Chris Jenkins (a cached view of the website confirms that it has been there since at least March 28th, so it’s not an April Fool’s prank), and was discovered by Reel Anarchy. The photo shows the edit booth where Justice League‘s audio is being finalized, with the screen showing Cavill’s Superman with both a mustache and slight stubble (his character in Fallout has a mustache-stubble combo). There are dots on his face to allow for the facial hair to be digitally removed in post-production.
This image makes it clear just how much of a challenge Justice League‘s VFX team had on their hands, since they not only had to build an upper lip for Cavill, but also recreate the lower half of his face without stubble. Moreover, the reshoots meant that there was a tight deadline in post-production to get the movie ready for its scheduled release date. As a result, many fans noticed the imperfect cover-up job in the movie (though they may have been searching for it, since the news of the CGI mustache removal broke just a few days after Justice League‘s release).
Justice League had a notoriously difficult production, with original director Zack Snyder departing the movie at the end of principal photography and The Avengers director Joss Whedon stepping in to finish it. There were two months worth of reshoots that ended up comprising 15-20% of the final cut of the film, and fans who were dissatisfied with that version are still clamoring for the “Snyder Cut.” Though it received slightly better reviews than Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League was a box office disappointment and plans for Justice League 2 have been put on hold indefinitely.
Of course, the elephant in the room here is that Superman actually looks kind of amazing with a mustache. Perhaps DC fans should forget about the Snyder Cut and start insisting on the Mustache Cut instead.
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