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For Henry Cavill, joining Mission: Impossible – Fallout allowed him to do something he hasn’t done in a while: play a mere mortal.
“I love playing Superman, but he doesn’t feel the same things we do physically,” the actor, who has starred as the Man of Steel in three DC films (with more on the way), explains. “You can’t react to the world in the same way, which a normal human being would. So for me, [doing Fallout] just meant that I could play a human again, at last. Normal reactions to normal things were allowed.”
Then again, his Fallout character isn’t really a mere mortal. Cavill’s August Walker is a CIA agent considered a “weapon of last resort,” he says. “He is a blunt force trauma type attack. He kills everyone in the room and there are no questions or answers, there are no witnesses, there are no questions asked, and the job is done.”
Which is why, when Walker’s forced to join Tom Cruise’s super-spy Ethan Hunt on his latest impossible mission, the two fail to see eye-to-eye. Walker’s M.O. involves killing as a means to an end, while Hunt’s has always been the opposite. “Ethan believes that whatever Walker is doing, it’s not helping,” Cavill says. “Ethan Hunt is a hero, the guy who makes sure everyone stays alive. Walker thinks the way Ethan carries out his business is ultimately more of a threat to the mission and more of a threat to the greater good.”
Still, the one difference between Walker and Ethan — and between Walker and Superman — that fans couldn’t get enough of has been, of all things, Cavill’s mustache. The actor’s facial hair drew attention after it was notoriously digitally removed in scenes from Justice League (he had to film reshoots while also filming Fallout, and couldn’t shave it), a hiccup that led to memes and to Cavill’s own tribute to the stubble after he finally shaved it in March.
Looking back, Cavill says that despite the trouble his mustache caused, he’s delighted by what happened. “If I was ever going to grow a mustache, it would have to be a world-changing mustache, and I’m glad it was,” he says. “I’ve put up with that thing for a year, I’ve learned to love it and now I miss it. I’m glad it got so much in the way of media attention and everything because if I ever grow a mustache again, I can look back and know that I can find so much in the way of videos and memes and Instagram posts, whatever it may be just to remind me of what it was like.”
“And hopefully,” he quips, “one day I can show my grandkids.”
Mission: Impossible – Fallout hits theaters July 27.