Films

When actors bald up

Baldness. It used to be such a thorny topic, something men didn’t talk about. Now of course we have Premier League footballers using Twitter to pictorially depict how much they fear losing their mop, and even more interestingly, we have actors such as James Nesbitt claiming that hair surgery actually saved their career.

But what about big Hollywood stars who purposely go bald in the line of duty? Well, we’ve put together our favourite examples:

Images: Allstar

  • When actors bald up

    Tom Cruise in Tropic Thunder

    With chunky eyewear, an ungracious paunch and famine of hair follicles, Tom Cruise could’ve easily been portraying a 1980s darts player with his appearance in Tropic Thunder. Instead, he played loudmouth Hollywood producer Les Grossman, a man with a somewhat literal surname and fondness for bad music, instantly making any thoughts of Maverick seem two decades ago (even though it was). And what he lacked in hair, he also lacked in rhythm – we’re pretty sure his dance moves would’ve made even David Brent wince.

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    Jeff Bridges in Iron Man

    Whether playing a burnt out cowboy or burnt out musician, the most memorable characters of Bridges’s recent CV have tended to have two familiar traits: a full crop of hair and an Oscar nomination. Both things missing from his super-villain in Iron Man who presumably tore all his hair out in fury at the blithe antics of playboy do-gooder Tony Stark.

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    Woody Harrelson in Kingpin

    It takes a true comic genius to upstage Bill Murray in a film. And for large parts of the Farrelly Brothers’ bowling spoof Kingpin, Harrelson does. This said, he’s wearing a rubber hand, charity shop tailoring and of course a comb over which fools nobody, so it’s probably not all down to comic timing.

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    Gene Hackman in Superman

    Anyone familiar with The Life of Brian might have witnessed the Pythons dressed up as women, dressed up as men - in the silly stakes, this is possibly the only thing that tops Gene Hackman sporting a number of comical headpieces in the Superman films; despite the fact he’s wearing a bald cap.

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    Kevin Spacey in Se7en

    Unlike that part-timer Hackman, Kevin Spacey went full-bald for his rendition of Lex Luthor in Superman Returns - unsurprising given his history of playing bald villains, including a spot on fake Dr Evil in Austin Powers: Goldmember. It wasn’t always guaranteed: he only shaved his head for his role as a serial killer in Se7en, when director David Fincher promised to remain bald for the entire production as well.

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    Timothy Olyphant in Hitman

    ‘Bald men need only apply’, the casting call for those who wanted to play Agent 47, the anti-hero from the video game Hitman bought to the big screen in 2009. Vin Diesel was attached but dropped out, doubtless Jason Statham too, and then the improbable happened: Timothy Olyphant took a Bic to his scalp and won the role. Couldn’t save the film from being a washout though.

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    Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman and Robin

    It’d be nice to think that Arnie’s shiny blue headed role as Mr Freeze in 1995’s forgettable flop Batman and Robin was just an early audition for the Blue Man Group. Sadly, it wasn’t. His hairless exterior did bring some positives, mind – it took attention away from his pitifully one-liners: “Ice to see you”, would make even McBain cringe.

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    Colin Farrell in Daredevil

    Playing a scampish villain with a penchant for pubs and thirst for trouble was never going to be a stretch for a Hollywood hell raiser. Going naked up top, however, meant that Farrell risked dropping serious places in any Sexiest Man of the Year polls. His locks have remained pretty shaggy since, but for upcoming film Horrible Bosses, he’s going to have a patchy comb over.

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    Matthew Mcconaughey in Reign Of Fire

    If you believe what thousands of column inches of Hollywood gossip tell you, then Mcconaughey has definitely had hair surgery. Not that he needed it for his part as a gruff US commander in 2002’s action fantasy Reign of Fire. But as we all know, it mattered little to his looks – even we can clearly see he’s a dreamboat – nor to his performance – he’s always been as wooden as a tree.

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    Persis Khambatta in Star Trek: The Motion Picture

    Not a lot of women can pull off the bald look. Anyone who can remember Britney's blue period can attest to that. So, extra marks go to the ex-Miss India who took on a memorably hairless role in the first Star Trek movie. She played Lieutenant Ilia who was a Deltan, a race known for their high sexuality. So high that they had to swear an oath of celibacy before entering service in Starfleet. Blimey.