WORDS CHRIS HEWITT
There's something about being a secret agent that clearly appeals to Henry Cavill. After coming within an exploding pen's width of being James Bond circa Casino Royale, the British actor's day job over the last five years has been as Superman. But when he hasn't been leaping tall buildings in a single bound, he's thrown himself into the movie-spy business. First there was his turn as Napoleon Solo in The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and now Mission: Impossible Fallout sees him join the Tom Cruise franchise as mysterious CIA agent August Walker, a human battering ram sent in to keep an eye on Ethan Hunt. It's the role for which Cavill grew arguably the most famous moustache this side of Tom Selleck; the one that he was unable to shave during Justice League reshoots as Fallout was still filming, prompting a CG cover-up that was less than well-received.
Q:Let's get the elephant in the room out of the way: the moustache that launched a thousand headlines.Why did you go down that road?
A:I felt there had to be something which made Walker different. There's something about a moustache that says,"I'm a man who makes decisions by myself." I showed Chris McQuarrie a piece of art from my favourite Superman comic book, Absolute Superman For Tomorrow. It's based on one of the characters in that, Elias Orr,a CIA-type character who is in the middle of all the plots, but not necessarily a good guy or a bad guy. That's where the look first started and it evolved from there.
Q:Were you surprised by the furore that arose from simply growing a'tache?
A:I was slightly surprised. When we decided to go for the moustache,I certainly wasn't expecting all the events to unfold as they were going to unfold.I wasn't expecting Justice League reshoots to be as extensive as they were. When it came to that,it was one of those things where I'm in the middle of another movie, and to change my look for a movie that should have finished already becomes a real problem.And as you will see when the movie comes out,to have a fake moustache on would not have been a possibility. You'll think, "Okay,yeah,a fake moustache would perhaps have blown off in this situation." Unfortunately it led to much dismay when Justice League came out, but that's the nature of these things. You can't win every time.
Q:You've recently shaved it off. Do you miss it?
A:I absolutely do miss it. I'd grown quite fond of it over time, but I'm also very happy to have my own face back.
Q:Your character in Fallout is called August Walker. Does a name that evocative give you a platform?
A:The truth is, I did not know my name was August untill saw my chair on set.[Laughs]Had I known my character name was August, I would have laced in some bullied-as-a-child story into my backstory, but I didn't. He was just Walker. That’s cool,like Johnnie Walker. It’s such a simple name as far as the surname goes. His first name is not simple at all. Imagine meeting a big moustachioed dude in the street and he goes,"Hi, my names August." You’d be like, Oh God. Can I be June?
Q:How did Christopher McQuarrie pitch this film and Walker to you?
A:The funniest thing about Walker and how it was pitched to me is that how it ended up is nothing like that. One of the wonders of McQ is his ability to evolve a character as we are shooting. And because we also had the month to a month-and-a-half hiatus (after Cruise broke his ankle during filming]l. there was even more time to continue to evolve this character, and where we started with the character was very different from where we ended up.
Q:McQuarrie told us he was in awe of your ability to roll with the punches, because the role was changing so much.
A:I don't consider them punches. It felt like an evolution. I was then having to re-find my footing but because my input counted for something. It didn't make it difficult. I didn't consider it rolling with the punches as much as I will take the compliment.
Q：What can you say about Walker?
A:Aside from having a fabulous moustache, August Walker is an essential tool of the CIA . He is the guy sent to keep an eye on the IMF and do what it takes to make sure the mission is successful.
If you would imagine that Ethan Hunt and the IMF are a scalpel and a scalpel is very efficient for certain tasks, August Walker is more of a sledge hammer. You know Samuel L.Jackson's character in Jackie Brown? You know how he sold the AK-47? August Walker is the AK-47.
Q：When you absolutely，positively have to kill every motherfucker in the room, accept no substitutes.
（*原句出自电影《危险关系》:When you absolutely, positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room; accept no substitutes. AK-47, the very best there is.
A：Yes August Walker has no problem with killing everyone in the room. In his mind it’s absolutely necessary. I mean, he's not going to go out of his way to kill people, l but if someone is in the way of the mission he will happily move them out of the way. Forever.
Q：What’s his relationship like with Hunt?
A：Let’s just call it strained. They don't see eye to eye. Ethan Hunt has a very different approach, and the reason why August and Ethan- it’s weird calling him August - the reason why Walker and Hunt have such a tête-à-tête in this movie is because they have very different ideals, and it's their approach to the mission which causes such friction. They're both very convinced that their way is the right way for very different reasons, obviously.
（*tête-à-tête:法语 involving or happening between two people in private
Q:In terms of this role, are you looking for something different from Superman?
A:I feel like ít’s doing a disservice to say I’m trying to play something different from Superman. I love that character and I feel a very personal relationship with Superman. There's a lot more to be told on Superman yet, and l’m looking forward to playing that character hopefully many more times. When it comes to selecting other roles, or being a part of other franchises, it's more about the enjoyment of showing everyone there's more to me than just the Superman performance.
Q:What was your Tom Cruise experience like?
A:It was a huge deal. I was very excited by the prospect. I’d met Tom before, when I was auditioning for Illya Kuryakin for Man From U.N.C.L.E. and he was playing Napoleon Solo at the time. I ended up playing Napoleon Solo and Armie Hammer ended up playing Illya Kuryakin. So this was a wonderful opportunity to finally get a chance to work with Tom. Also, l’ve got that much more experience now. l’m older, I’m wiser, I’ve been through more in the way of positive and negative versions of this experience,
Q:Did Tom remember the Man From U.N.C.L.E. audition?
A:Absolutely. One thing about Tom, he remembers everything, It's remarkable. I briefly passed him in the hotel just outside Leavesden Studios when I was playing Napoleon Solo, and he said, "Oh Henry, it's great that you're in the role. You'll be fantastic. Have a great day."
I was líke, "What the..." That's amazing that he clocked me, remembered where he’d met me, even though I'd only met him once, and then went from there.
Q:When did that first encounter happen?
A:It was in-between Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman, The reason I didn't get Kuryakin with Tom was because Tom and I were too similar looking, They said, "You're not going to play well off each other. " When Tom didn't play the role they thought, Great, we have a great back-up."
Q:You've done Man From U.NC.L.E. , Mission and you were so nearly Bond. Are you doing a grand tour of the spy franchises?
A:That would be fun, I think the idea of playing Bond is...I know the idea of playing Bond is one that really tickles me. I think that would be enormous fun. It all depends on who the people up top want. l'm sure they're going to be making decisions in the next couple of years about who the next Bond is. Hopefully I’m at least on their list.
Q:You've heard of the EGOT [the Grand Slam of entertainment, comprising winning the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards]? You could do the same thing, but with film spies. And finish it off with Austin Powers.
A:The other thing to do would be iconic characters. Superman, James Bond, and Indiana Jones would probably be the next big thing. Imagine that.
Q:Who knows? They might be looking for a new Indy as well.
A:I'll have to make friends with Harrison Or Mr Ford, rather.
Q:You said you want to play Superman again. What's the latest?
A:Unfortunately I can’t say anything. It's something which is all in the works at WB. They ’re getting all their ducks in a row and working things out.
Q:The last time we spoke was for the Empire Podcast, and it was an incredible experience because you couldn’t say you were in Justice League, even though we both knew you were.
A:I couldn't say a thing about anything.
Q:Even though you were in the first shot of the film.
A:Yeah. Right there, with no moustache, at the very beginning of the movie. [Laughs]Well, that whole concept was faintly ridiculous and I honestly believe everyone viewed it as such. Of course if I'm on the press tour I’m in the movie. Obviously you knew, and that was a different little tap dance we danced together. But for the audience, I wanted to leave some mystery. I think it's important to have some mystery in movies these days.
Q:Were you disappointed by the reception to Justice League?
A:I think all these things have their place and their time. There are many reasons why the audience have responded ín the way they responded. lt's all lessons learned.
MISSION: IMPOSSIDLE FALLOUT IS IN CINEMAS FROM 26 JULY