VFX team the Corridor Crew make it their mission to correct some of the biggest wrongs in movie special effects on their YouTube channel, like when they vastly improved the widely derided CGI nightmare that was Dwayne Johnson’s screen debut as the Scorpion King in 2001’s The Mummy Returns. Their latest endeavor sees them taking on the controversial “Superman mustache,” and exploring what Justice League might actually look like if Henry Cavill were permitted to keep his soup-strainer on-screen. With multiple iterations of the film having been released in the last four years, the Mustache Cut may end up being the definitive edition.
The saga of Henry Cavill’s mustache has become deeply entrenched in Hollywood lore by now, but here’s a refresher: the actor grew facial hair for his role in Mission: Impossible—Fallout, but then had to return to the set of Justice League for reshoots at the same time. Time constraints, coupled with Cavill’s commitment to Mission: Impossible meant that he was unable to shave his mustache while filming new footage as Superman, and so his handlebars were digitally removed in post-production. Some stills of Cavill’s uncannily smooth upper lip leaked online, and a meme was born.
Four whole years later, and the Corridor Crew are still haunted by what could have been, so they set out to reinsert the mustache into Justice League via computer wizardry. “I think it’s a disservice to the world that WB decided to take his mustache out,” says Peter.
The team experiment with three different methods for recreating the mustache: deepfakes, which use artificial intelligence to replace one likeness with another; compositing, which combines visual elements from multiple sources; and CGI, which creates visuals virtually via 3D-modeling.
For the deepfake, they attempt to overlay Cavill’s Mission: Impossible face (complete with ‘tache) on his face in Justice League, but soon find that his acting style and facial expressions differ too much in each movie, and the resulting effect is jarring and incomplete.
While playing around with compositing, they give Cavill a variety of mustaches from other famous faces, including Hulk Hogan and Yosemite Sam. Finally, in the CGI portion of the video, Peter uses a 3D model of Cavill’s face to “grow” hair from his upper lip in actual scenes from the movie.
“We can only tell if this is accurate or not if Warner Bros. release the mustache cut,” says Niko.
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