10 Best Actors with Magnificent Hair Who Went Bald for a Role in 2023


10 Best Actors with Magnificent Hair Who Went Bald for a Role in 2023

Actors are known for their dedication to their craft, and one way they show it is by going to great lengths to transform themselves for a role. And what better way to make a change than by altering their appearance? Some actors take it up a notch by even getting their hair cut while in the makeup chair. Talk about commitment!

But there’s a select group of actors who go even further. They’re the ones who completely shave their heads to perfectly embody a specific character. Take Natalie Portman and Anne Hathaway, for example. These talented stars are no strangers to drastic transformations, and they both famously shaved their heads for certain roles. Now that’s what you call dedication!

Now, imagine being an actor with a stunning head of hair, only to be faced with the challenge of playing a bald or balding character. It can be quite the conundrum. Bald wigs may not always do the trick, and that’s when these actors decide to take matters into their own hands. They go the extra mile by removing all or most of their hair to truly bring their characters to life. Talk about going above and beyond!

So, let’s take a moment to appreciate those actors who had otherwise magnificent hair but made modifications to portray a bald character. They’re the true chameleons of the silver screen, willing to do whatever it takes to captivate us with their incredible transformations.

1. Johnny Depp In ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’

Johnny Depp In 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas'
Johnny Depp has never shied away from transforming himself for a character. The man is so accustomed to spending hours in the makeup chair that he probably wouldn’t mind doing it even if he wasn’t filming a movie. He has had numerous roles where he proudly flaunts his long, dark locks, and it’s rare to see him without them.

One of Depp’s memorable transformations involved portraying a bald man, not just once but on multiple occasions. While he did so brilliantly as Whitey Bulger in Black Mass, his most notable bald appearance came in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. In this film, Depp takes on the persona of Hunter S. Thompson, and he truly looks the part. Not only did Depp have his head shaved for the role, but he had the privilege of having Thompson himself do the honors. During an interview with James Lipton on Inside the Actor’s Studio, Depp shared his experience:

“Hunter shaved my head, in fact. I was too afraid to look in the mirror. It was quite a daunting experience. Hunter had a mining light strapped to his head, and we were in his kitchen. Yes, he shaved my hair.”

Depp’s dedication to his craft is evident in his willingness to undergo such transformations. Whether it’s donning long hair or going completely bald, he fully immerses himself in his characters, leaving a lasting impression on both fans and critics alike.

2. Colin Farrell In ‘Horrible Bosses’

Colin Farrell In 'Horrible Bosses'
Colin Farrell is no stranger to playing unique and unconventional characters, but in the film Horrible Bosses, his hair takes on an unexpected spotlight. Unlike his previous roles, Bobby Pellit demanded a departure from Farrell’s signature hair. Interestingly enough, it was Farrell himself who advocated for Pellit to have a receding hairline.

The film’s director, Seth Gordon, sheds light on Farrell’s commitment to the character’s appearance in the production notes, stating, “Colin transformed himself so completely he’s barely recognizable… He fully went for it. Audiences are going to see a whole different and very funny side to him.”

Farrell’s dedication to his portrayal of Pellit extended beyond just his hairstyle. He embraced the character’s persona as a coked-out jerk, even sporting a pot belly. This transformation showcases Farrell’s versatility as an actor and promises to deliver a unique and humorous performance for the viewers.

3. Alexander Skarsgård In ‘The Hummingbird Project’

Alexander Skarsgård In 'The Hummingbird Project'
Alexander Skarsgård is known for his thick blond hair, which he has consistently styled throughout his career. Despite playing characters that require wigs, he rarely appears without his signature locks.

However, in 2018, Skarsgård surprised everyone when he walked the red carpet with a mostly bald look. He shaved the top of his head and trimmed the remaining hair very short for his role as Anton Zaleski in The Hummingbird Project. The decision on Zaleski’s appearance in the movie sparked some discussion. Skarsgård expressed his vision of the character as a bald man during an interview with Variety:

“I loved it [being bald]. It was a bit of a struggle to get there. I really wanted it. Kim [Nguyen, the director] seemed to like the idea, but there were other people, the money people, who had some concerns. So, it started as a negotiation. They suggested a slightly receding hairline, just a little bit. But I insisted on being bald. Kim was very diplomatic, trying to please everyone, but I could sense that he creatively liked the idea. So one day, I told Anne, our hair and makeup lady, ‘Let’s just do it. Let’s shave it off.'”

Skarsgård’s bold decision to embrace the bald look for his character in The Hummingbird Project showcases his dedication to his craft and willingness to push boundaries for the sake of his roles.

4. Glenn Howerton In ‘BlackBerry’

Glenn Howerton In 'BlackBerry'
Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia are well aware of Glenn Howerton’s character, Dennis, and his obsession with his own appearance, particularly his luscious locks. However, outside of the show, Howerton takes on different roles in both film and television. In 2023, he had the opportunity to portray Jim Balsillie in the movie BlackBerry.

Interestingly, Balsillie is a real person, and unlike Dennis, he is mostly bald. To accurately capture Balsillie’s likeness, Howerton had to undergo a significant transformation. In an NPR interview, Howerton revealed his approach to portraying Balsillie’s hairline when asked about it:

“Well, I really didn’t have much of a choice. Jim is Jim, and I wanted to capture that authenticity as much as possible. Wearing a bald cap just didn’t feel right to me, so I made the decision to shave my own head.”

It’s clear that Howerton’s dedication to his craft and commitment to authenticity led him to take such a drastic step. By sacrificing his own hair, he ensured that his portrayal of Jim Balsillie was as true to life as possible.

5. Christian Bale In ‘American Hustle’

Christian Bale In 'American Hustle'
Christian Bale is known for his signature long and wavy hair, and he didn’t make drastic changes for his role as Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle. However, one noticeable difference was the more prominent recession in his hairline, which made him almost unrecognizable in the role. But it wasn’t just his hairline that transformed his appearance, as he also gained a whopping 43 pounds for the character.

Now, Bale is no stranger to extreme physical transformations for his roles – just take a look at The Machinist and Batman Begins to see the extremes he’s gone to. As for his hair, or lack thereof, Bale had a significant say in how his character would look. According to makeup department head Evelyne Noraz, Bale was heavily involved in creating his look, even more so than any other actor.

Bale had a specific vision for his character’s chest hair, believing that men who lose hair on top tend to have more chest hair. This led to hours spent in the makeup chair, as they meticulously added more hair to his chest. Noraz revealed that it was entirely Bale’s idea, and despite the long hours, he was determined to make it perfect.

The dedication and attention to detail that Bale displayed in creating his character’s appearance truly shows his commitment to his craft.

6. Jim Carrey In ‘Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events’

Jim Carrey In 'Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events'
Jim Carrey has always been known for his impressive mane of hair, particularly in his early roles where his wavy locks would effortlessly cascade over his forehead. Adapting his appearance to suit a character has never been a problem for him, but dealing with baldness is a whole different story. However, Carrey has never been one to shy away from using makeup and prosthetics for his roles.

Out of all the bald characters Carrey has taken on, his portrayal of Count Olaf in Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events stands out as his best. Transforming into this character required Carrey to spend three hours each day in the makeup chair, undergoing a complete physical metamorphosis. Although it wasn’t as grueling as his experience with the makeup in How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Carrey didn’t mind the process at all.

Reflecting on the makeup ordeal, Carrey humorously commented, “They brutalized me so badly on that film that this one was a cakewalk (in comparison).” However, he actually found the whole makeup process fascinating, approaching it with childlike curiosity. He constantly questioned himself, wondering how different he could look and what kind of character would emerge from it all. Carrey believed that fully immersing himself in the makeup transformation with unwavering faith always brought about surprising results. It was like giving birth to a new character, as if this person didn’t exist before and suddenly came to life.

7. Tom Cruise In ‘Tropic Thunder’

Tom Cruise In 'Tropic Thunder'
Tom Cruise, known for his luscious locks, surprised everyone with his unforgettable appearance as Les Grossman in Tropic Thunder. In this role, Cruise took on the character of a profane studio executive overseeing the production of the film. It was Ben Stiller, the film’s star and director, who revealed that Cruise himself came up with the idea for Grossman. In an interview with Esquire, Stiller shared how Cruise pitched the character:

“Tom Cruise had the idea to play Les Grossman in the movie. That part did not exist. He said, ‘Well, there’s no studio executive, and that would be really fun to be that guy.’ And he had this whole idea of what the guy should look like. It was his idea to dance. And I remember when we did the makeup test, someone handed him a Diet Coke, and then he just started moving.”

Grossman’s appearance, quite different from Cruise’s usual image, featured a bald head and a larger physique. Every aspect of the character, from the physical appearance to the dance moves, was Cruise’s brainchild. He further explained this during an interview with BBC Radio 1 in 2017, recounting his approach to playing Grossman alongside Stiller:

“I want to play this character. I said, ‘I want fat hands, and I want to dance.’ And he said, ‘Look, can’t you just be you? Look like you?’ And I said, ‘I’m sorry, I just don’t know how else to play this character.'”

8. Robert Downey Jr. In ‘The Sympathizer’

Robert Downey Jr. In 'The Sympathizer'
Robert Downey Jr. has always been known for his consistent hairstyle and his tendency to take on roles that don’t require much change to his appearance. In fact, throughout his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he sported the same hairstyle, which remained unchanged for many years. However, things took a turn when he joined the cast of The Sympathizer.

In a recent Instagram post, Downey shared the process of shaving his head and decided to have his kids do the honors. He was adamant about not wearing a bald wig, so he took the bold step of completely removing all his hair and proudly flaunted his newly shaved head in public. As a token of appreciation, his kids even gave him a playful Jack-o-Lantern look.

In The Sympathizer, Downey portrays multiple characters, two of whom are either bald or balding. His transformation is so remarkable that he becomes almost unrecognizable in the series, and a significant part of that transformation is due to his hair, or rather, the absence of it. Interestingly, Downey also takes on the role of Lewis Strauss in Christopher Nolan’s Oppenheimer, where he had to don a similar receding hairline.

Overall, it’s fascinating to see how Downey is willing to experiment with his appearance and take on diverse roles that challenge his usual hairstyle. His commitment to authenticity and willingness to embrace change make him a versatile actor in the industry.

9. Ryan Gosling In ‘Blue Valentine’

Ryan Gosling In 'Blue Valentine'
Ryan Gosling is often admired for his consistently perfect hair, whether he’s on screen or just out and about. However, when it comes to his roles, he doesn’t shy away from altering his appearance. It’s rare, though, for him to play a character with a receding hairline.

In the movie Blue Valentine, the story spans several years and was filmed in three parts to capture the passage of time. As the character Dean Pereira, Gosling gains weight as the narrative progresses, and his hairline noticeably recedes. Gosling wasn’t particularly thrilled about the physical transformation, but he joked about it with IndieWire, saying:

“It’s not great, you know. But girls are forgiving, so if I ever had any ego concerns, I’d just go to some restaurant, and some lady would tell me I looked better with less hair or that I looked better with some meat on my bones. Girls are sweet like that.”

10. Charlie Sheen In ‘Being John Malkovich’

Charlie Sheen In 'Being John Malkovich'
Charlie Sheen is known for his enviable hair, which seems to run in the family. He has always proudly displayed his luscious locks, both on and off the screen. Typically, he portrays characters with hairstyles similar to his natural one, rarely taking on bald roles or poking fun at himself. However, he made an exception for the film Being John Malkovich.

In this movie, Sheen portrays a fictionalized version of himself. The story unfolds over several years, and towards the end, his future self appears bald. Interestingly, it was John Malkovich himself who played a role in Sheen’s involvement in the project. Originally, the script called for Kevin Bacon to play himself. Malkovich discussed this casting decision in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.

Malkovich pondered over who he would turn to if he found himself in dire straits, plummeting into the depths of despair. He needed someone who could give tough love and support in such moments. That’s when he thought of Charlie Sheen. Besides being a talented actor, Sheen perfectly embodied the essence of the character. Malkovich even jokingly expressed a desire for Sheen to be his best friend, even if it meant he might end up in jail more often.

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