Henry Cavill explains meme-worthy 'arm reload' moment from 'Mission: Impossible – Fallout'

There’s one specific moment in the trailer for Mission: Impossible — Fallout that has riveted the internet in recent weeks. Henry Cavill’s August Walker is about to engage in a bathroom beatdown when he seems to shake his fists into action.

What exactly is he doing? Turning on his fists? Recharging them? We asked Cavill when the Man of Steel actor stopped by Yahoo Entertainment this week to talk about his role as the hardboiled CIA agent dispatched to shadow Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) in the new action sequel.

“It’s called the arm reload,” said Cavill (watch above). “Because Walker, he’s not fond of Ethan’s methods, which are very sneaky as opposed to direct action. Walker’s more about direct action, and so far he’s done it Ethan’s way and it hasn’t worked. So this is him saying, ‘I’m going to kill the guy.’ It’s the easier action, rather than all this messing about. … The gloves [came] off.”

Henry Cavill
Henry Cavill in Mission: Impossible — Fallout (Clip courtesy of Paramount)

It was an ad-lib for the 35-year-old Brit, and one that he originally regretted. “I did it, and then I didn’t do it for the next take. Because I was kind of nervous, because I thought, ‘Oh, no one said anything.’ I’m never improvising again. And then McQ [director Christopher McQuarrie] said to me, ‘Why didn’t you do the thing?’

“He took me to the monitor and showed me the arm reload and he said, ‘Do that again.’ And now it’s a meme.”

One astute Reddit user has also pointed out that the arm reloading seemed to make Cavill spontaneously grow a beard mid-scene. Was that the lighting? Was the shot pieced together from footage from a different day?

“I just learned how to do that because that was post-Justice League reshoots,” Cavill deadpanned, referencing the hullabaloo surrounding the fact that Warner Bros. had to digitally remove his M:I mustache when they called the actor back to film additional scenes as Superman. “I figured it’s a skill I need for the future. I need to learn how to regrow my facial hair quickly.

“But I can’t control it. It’s like an Incredible Hulk kind of thing.”

Mission: Impossible — Fallout opens Friday.

Watch Cavill talk about the mustache memes that resulted from his Justice League reshoots:

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