Henry Cavill's Dedication To Mission: Impossible - Fallout Changed The Way His Character Was Written

You might find it hard to believe, but amazingly, it's hard to keep pace with Tom Cruise when it comes to filming an action movie. Cruise, who at 60 is still pulling off stunts that would make even the "Jackass" guys have second thoughts, has never shied away from putting his body and life on the line in the name of cinematic spectacle. Never has this been more true than on the set of Cruise's "Mission: Impossible" films.

So when Henry Cavill signed up for "Mission: Impossible – Fallout," he must have felt a little bit of pressure to live up to Cruise's lofty (in some cases literally) standards. 

While Cavill was never going to be asked to scale the Burj Khalifa or do some casual free solo climbing, the man whose mustache stirred up an internet's-worth of controversy was game to at least try to live up to his legendary costar's example. Of course, a life of daring and danger never fazed Cavill. After all, this is a guy who once had aspirations to become an "elite soldier" as a kid. As he told The Hollywood Reporter in 2021 when referring to one of the movie's stunts: 

"It's what they call mental stamina — because what you believe is your physical boundary is actually just a mental boundary. It was extraordinarily uncomfortable; my body did not want to keep getting back in the helicopter, but I just kept doing it."

But even as intense as the military training he once sought could be, it's hard to imagine anything preparing him for working alongside Cruise. Still, as Cavill proved, he was up to the challenge. And it completely changed the way his character was portrayed in what is arguably one of the best action films of the 21st century.

Putting it all on the line for the sake of a great action film

Fans will obviously be familiar with Cavill's proclivity for action, even outside of his role in "Mission: Impossible – Fallout." After all, this is a guy who has played Superman and Geralt of Rivia, not to mention starring in the criminally underrated (but now tarnished, thanks to the involvement of a controversial costar) Guy Ritchie film "The Man From U.N.C.L.E." 

Obviously, Cavill is an actor who was game for anything Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie threw at him — even at the potential expense of his personal health, including suffering from tinnitus while filming alongside the "Top Gun: Maverick" star. As McQuarrie told The Hollywood Reporter:

"It was an extreme form of physical punishment. We would get back to base camp and his face was literally frozen and he couldn't make facial expressions. I don't know another actor who would do that — not only do it, but do it with full commitment and never complain."

And it was this kind of dedication that helped elevate the film. In movies, the hero is only as memorable as his villain. Just look at Hans Gruber, for example. And Cavill's traitorous villain in "Fallout" was great not just because of the actor's imposing physical presence, but also his charm. As McQuarrie put it, despite being an evil character, Cavill's August Walker "never lost that leading man appeal." 

It really says something that you can take a guy who has played the ultimate Boy Scout and turn him into a villain, but he's still a mesmerizing and charismatic presence. It's enough to make you wish he hadn't suddenly lost both of his most famous roles within the span of a couple of weeks. To quote Geralt... well, you know. Eff.