Dwight’s ridiculous haircut on The Office was actually Rainn Wilson’s idea. “I tried to purposefully create the UGLIEST haircut I could possibly design for my ungainly enormous head and forehead,” he wrote in a Reddit AMA.
He said in another interview that he succeeded, “and then realized that my hair was going to have to stay the same as long as the show was on. So, here I am nine years later still wearing that hairstyle and still trying to figure out how to make it not Dwight-ish on my days off.” He said once the show was over, he would not miss “the terrible middle part.”
Another character hairstyle the actor vehemently hated was “The Rachel” on Friends. “I think it was the ugliest haircut I’ve ever seen,” she said in 2011.
Later, she expressed frustration in having the haircut on days she wasn’t on set, because she found it impossible to style on her own. “I needed [my hairstylist] Chris [McMillan] attached to my hip. Left to my own devices, I am not skilled with a hairbrush and blow dryer.”
Gwendoline Christie also hated her haircut for Game of Thrones, crying for two hours after it was first done.
“It’s very hard as a tall woman to remove your deliberately pronounced feminine aspects and look more masculine,” Christie said. However, she said it was worth it, and ultimately helped to both “change notions of femininity” and overcome being uncomfortable with her androgyny.
We all know Ariana Grande for her signature high pony — but she revealed a few years back that she actually had to wear it because the years she spent dyeing her hair red for Victorious led to it being so damaged; the ponytail extension was really her only option.
“I had to bleach my hair and dye it red every other week for the first four years of playing Cat…as one would assume, that completely destroyed my hair. … I wear it in a ponytail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down,” Grande wrote in a Facebook post.
A similar thing happened to Hilarie Burton in One Tree Hill. After two seasons of intense curling and bleaching, her hair was so damaged she had to cut her hair and return to a more natural color for Season 3.
And Nikki Reed had a reallllyyyy bad experience dyeing her hair blonde for Twilight. “It took 36 hours initially to make me blond, and every other day, I was bleaching my head and my skin,” she told MTV.
Eventually, it got so bad that her hair started to fall out — so Reed, a natural brunette, opted to wear wigs for the rest of the series.
Milla Jovovich had to do the same thing for The Fifth Element. Keeping her orange-hued style with bright white roots required bleaching her hair constantly, leading to her hair falling out in clumps just a few weeks into shooting.
She, too, had to switch to wigs. “We had to make the Leeloo wig because I literally had only, like, half…like, clumps of hair. It was really awful,” she told Vogue.
Sometimes, the transformations aren’t permanent, but still affect actors greatly day-to-day. For example, for his role in The Whale, Brendan Fraser had to wear a prosthetic suit — almost nothing in the final film was CGI. Fraser called the suit “cumbersome” and highly technical. “The torso piece was almost like a straight jacket, with sleeves that went on, airbrushed by hand, to look identical as would human skin, right down to the hand-punched hair,” he described.
With some versions of the suit weighing 300 pounds, Fraser needed help just to stand up and sit down. The process of getting him into the suit alone took five to six hours, though this was later streamlined to two to three hours. And when he took it off, he would get vertigo from losing the weight.
For the X-Men films, Jennifer Lawrence had a far worse transformation: It took up to eight hours to apply her Mystique makeup, and she couldn’t even sit down to pee once she was in costume.
But the worst daily transformation has got to be Jim Carrey in How the Grinch Stole Christmas. He once called the process of being made into the Grinch “like being buried alive every day.” Makeup on the very first day took eight and a half hours, and Carrey nearly quit.
The film then hired someone who trains CIA operatives on how to endure torture to better prepare Carrey for the makeup each day.
For the film Adrift, Shailene Woodley was only able to eat 350 calories a day for weeks to play a sailor lost at sea. She called it miserable, saying she couldn’t sleep at night because she can’t sleep when she’s hungry, so she’d have to have a glass of wine to “put herself out for the night.”
In another extreme dieting example, Anne Hathaway said she had to basically “stop eating” for 13 days of shooting while filming for Les Misérables. She didn’t share the exact details of her diet (as she didn’t want anyone to copy it), which caused her to lose 25 pounds. Costar Isabelle Allen said that Hathaway broke her arm after losing the weight as a result of falling off her bike and being “thin and fragile” from her diet.
While the diet sounds miserable, it wasn’t Hathaway’s only challenge with taking on the role. She also had her long locks chopped off onscreen in one scene, and was “inconsolable” after.
Margaret Cho was also pressured to lose weight for All-American Girl. She was told she “was too overweight to play the part of [herself].” She then drastically decreased her food intake, and later ended up in the hospital with kidney failure from “not eating.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Charlize Theron had to gain weight for her role in Tully. Increasing her intake of sugar and processed foods actually ended up making her get “hit in the face pretty hard with depression. … I was not that fun to be around on this film.”
Jared Leto is known for committing to roles, so it’s no surprise he also gained weight for a role — in his case, 67 pounds for his role in the film Chapter 27. To gain the weight, he drank microwaved pints of ice cream mixed with olive oil and soy sauce.
As a result, he developed a form of arthritis called gout, and doctors wanted to put him on a cholesterol medicine. He later said he’d never do anything like that again and doesn’t advise others to try.
George Clooney had to gain weight for his film Syriana. He said, “There was nothing fun about it” and called it “not the best time.” He gained 40 pounds in 30 days, and said that losing that new weight was “a lot harder than putting it on.”
Robert De Niro gained 55 pounds to play boxer Jake LaMotta in his older years in Raging Bull. The rapid weight gain caused him to start getting rashes on his legs. Director Martin Scorsese said his breathing was also affected, and reminded him of his own breathing during an asthma attack.
Matt Damon, in contrast, had to pack on the muscle for his role in the Bourne films. Starring in Jason Bourne at age 45, he emphasized the amount of time spent in the gym. “It’s not worth it! … It’s no way for any of us to live,” he said. “Unless it’s your job, three hours a day in the gym, or two hours and then a long run later…or a long hike with a weight vest on…it just sucks.”
“And then, it’s the diet where you’re not really eating anything you want to eat. You’re not having that glass of wine at the end of the day…it’s pretty lame,” he continued.
Chris Evans also struggled with the amount of time he had to spend in the gym in preparation for his role as Steve Rogers/Captain America. “It was grueling,” he said. “It was brutal, and I’d find any excuse possible not to go.” But, he said, “I had to do it.” He ended up having to put on 20-30 pounds of muscle.
When he was done shooting the first film, he “stopped going to the gym completely for about three months,” he said. In fact, now that his stint as Cap is over, he says he’s lost 15 pounds, and is relieved not to have to keep up that level of fitness.
In an even more extreme example, Zac Efron had to drop down to only five percent body fat for Baywatch. “I realized, when I was done with that movie, that I don’t ever want to be in that good of shape again,” he later said. “It was so hard. You’re working with almost no wiggle room. You’ve got things like water under your skin that you’re worrying about, making your six-pack into a four-pack, shit like that.”
He had to take “powerful diuretics” to lose water weight, and would wake up as early as 4 a.m. for workouts. “I started to develop insomnia, and I fell into a pretty bad depression, for a long time. Something about that experience burned me out. I had a really hard time re-centering,” Efron told Men’s Health.
Back to hair — Josh Hutcherson hated having to dye his natural brown hair blonde for The Hunger Games films. “I’m excited to shed the blonde hair!” he said in an interview on ABC once filming was done.
“That’s the thing that I was like, ‘Get out of here!’ Having to do touch-ups all the time and get my hair re-dyed and bleached was not my thing at all.”
His Hunger Games costar, Jennifer Lawrence, had to dye her naturally blonde hair dark for her role. Preferring her blonde hair, Lawrence would go back to blonde between films — but her second time doing so, things didn’t go so well.
“She wanted to go back to blonde for awards season, but her hair had so much color build-up that she decided to cut it off to her shoulders,” Catching Fire hair designer and head stylist, Linda Flowers, told Cosmopolitan.
“I tried to lift the brown pigments out of her hair twice with a base-breaking formula, which helped, but then Jennifer went to her personal colorist and spent eight hours there, bleaching it,” Flowers said. “The entire process really damaged her hair, so that’s when she went full pixie to get her hair back to a healthy state.” Jennifer certainly rocked the pixie cut, but I doubt she was anticipating going brunette and back, killing her hair. After this, Lawrence wore a wig for the final two movies.
Sophie Turner was well-known for her red hair on Game of Thrones, but she’s actually a natural blonde.
She was constantly dyeing her hair red and then blonde again — and one of these times, her hair never recovered. “A few years ago, I was trying to go back from red to blonde, and it destroyed my hair to the point that I had to use a wig for Game of Thrones,” she told Glamour. “They wouldn’t let me dye it back red, or my hair would’ve fallen out.”
Surprisingly, one star who had to bleach his hair frequently for a role didn’t experience hair loss — but still, the process wasn’t exactly fun. I’m of course referring to the iconic platinum blonde, Draco Malfoy.
Tom Felton, who played Draco, had to dye his hair every 10 days to prevent dark roots and keep his hair white. He said in 2008, “The worst thing was dyeing my hair blonde. It built some superhuman resistance, but it seems to have survived.”
But it wasn’t just the hair that frustrated Felton. He also wasn’t allowed to tan, and had to wear SPF 50 every time he was in the sun, so that his skin tone remained the pale white that was required of the character.
James Marsters also had to bleach his hair constantly — in his case, every eight days — for his role as the vampire Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. “They told me repeatedly my hair would fall out, or rather, they were not sure I would have hair by the end,” he said.
“The makeup department was really particular: There can never be roots in your hair. So, for seven years, we did it every episode. I agreed to bleaching when I thought I was going to die in five episodes. I don’t know if I would have agreed to it for seven years,” He continued. His hair ended up surviving, but he added that “my scalp did not like that.”
Like Felton and Marsters, Anna Paquin was also contractually obligated to keep dyeing her hair blonde to play Sookie on True Blood. Answering what she didn’t like about the playing the character at Comic-Con in 2009, Paquin said she wished Sookie weren’t blonde.
“I would be spending a lot less time in the hair salon getting my roots retouched, and my hair would probably be a little bit longer because it’s gradually getting shorter as the ends break off because I’m a fake, fake, fake blonde,” she told the crowd. She dyed her hair as soon as the series finished filming, opting for mermaid blue, purple, and green.
Kate Winslet initially loved the idea of going bright red for Titanic, but the hairstyle brought on a little more trouble than expected. “I hadn’t counted on how hard it would be to go back to my natural hair color after filming,” she told Elle. “It took almost two years.”
She also expressed frustration with her curls in the film. “My hair isn’t naturally wavy, so it had to be curled every day and was impossible to maintain because there was water all around us,” she said. “We were filming in a series of tanks, so the water was always in the air, and it would create a problem for everybody’s hair.”
And finally, let’s end on one more poor actor whose hair was ruined by bleach: Carey Mulligan. She became known for her short blonde pixie, but as it turned out, it wasn’t her favorite. “I hate my hair,” she said. “After An Education, I had a small part in Michael Mann’s film Public Enemies, and he wanted me to dye it white blonde, and it wrecked my hair.”
“Literally, ruined it. It was falling apart, fried. So, I had to cut it off. I cried,” she revealed. “I got stuck with the short hair thing,” she also later explained, rebutting comments from an interviewer that suggested she did it as a statement. “No! No statement. I loved having long hair.”
What do you think? Could you have undergone any of these transformations, or can you not even imagine having to change massive things about your appearance to appear in a movie? Let us know in the comments below!