“If Empire Magazine did the Top 10 Worst Hairdos in film,” said Colin Farrell on The Graham Norton Show last Friday, “I’m definitely three of those.” Gauntlet duly thrown, we’ve actually put together 25 of the worst male movie barnets that immediately sprang to mind. But credit where it’s due, Colin is still three of them.
As discussed on the show, Farrell’s Horrible Bosses combover is entirely disturbing, but it’s part of the character and therefore intentionally so. Alexander, on the other hand… “That was my Doris Day look,” says Colin. ‘Alexander was a golden-locked child, but he shouldn’t have been, for sure. He should’ve been brunette. And maybe he shouldn’t have had an Irish accent…”
Jean-Claude Van Damme – Hard Target
Mullet. Hairspray. There was just no need. If you’re going to have long hair it should at least move about.
Nicolas Cage – Con Air
No offense to Colin Farrell, but in the bad movie hair stakes he’s really got nothing on Cage. We’ll single out Con Air, but honestly, we could have gone for Bangkok Dangerous, Valley Girl, Adaptation (although that one has a character reason), Ghost Rider, Peggy Sue Got Married, Drive Angry, Outcast... everything really. If you can think of a good Nicolas Cage hair movie, give us a shout.
Paul McGann – Doctor Who
TV movie, but we’ll allow it. Recently McGann has reinvented his Doctor with leather jackets and a neater crop. But in the TV movie – a ‘90s attempt to reboot the series for an American audience – he was stuck with a sort of greatest-hits-of-Doctors-past ensemble, meaning velvet, a frock coat, and a wig that doesn’t even fit terribly well.
Ewan McGregor – Emma
“I knew it was awful,” said McGregor a few years ago of his Jane Austen horror. “I thought, ‘Well it must look alright on film, because somebody would say something…’” Nope.
Steven Seagal – Renegade Justice
Another contender for the we-could-have-chosen-anything prize. Seagal was visibly thinning in his very first movie, Nico (AKA, to some of you, Above The Law), but thereafter came the ponytail. And in more recent, straight-to-video years, the strangely solid, jet black Dracula widow’s peak he apparently now favours.
John Travolta (and Forest Whitaker and all the other aliens) – Battlefield Earth
Easy target sure, but c’mon. We weren’t letting this one escape. Battlefield Earth’s six-fingered Klingon knock-offs have dreadlocks. Some people look good with dreadlocks. The Psychlos not so much.
Ben Kingsley – BloodRayne
In which a respected knight of the realm somehow opts to make a film with Uwe Boll. These are the sort of results one should probably expect.
Sean Penn – Carlito’s Way
Weirdly looking very much like Robert Englund in V, Penn here demonstrates the very real dangers of the permanent wave.
Bruce Willis – Surrogates
Willis, quite happy these days to be bald on film, nevertheless still gets saddled with some truly awful headgear occasionally. Cast your minds back – or don’t – to The Day Of The Jackal and some of his sillier disguises. Or more recently, there’s Surrogates. Those are bangs, right? Is that what bangs are?
Taylor Lautner – Twilight
Shaggy, wolfen locks bedeck lycanthrope Lautner here, even when he’s in human form and not howling at anyone. That’s the idea anyway.
Colin Farrell - Miami Vice
Here’s Colin #2. We thought about A Home at the End of the World or his recent form on True Detective, but let’s go with Miami Vice, with that immediately recognisable highlight-rich flowing coif perhaps not so sensible for an undercover cop. Would the hair still be as bad without that ‘tache? Probably.
Chris Tucker – The Fifth Element
Part of the overall Jean Paul Gaultier madness of the film’s entire aesthetic, but that’s not necessarily enough of an excuse for sporting a silver head protrusion of this volume and mass.
Sylvester Stallone – Rambo 3
It’s not as if Rambo’s hair was ever really enviable, but his ‘do from the threequel – surely impractical for Mujahideen actions against the Soviets in a scorching hot desert – was enough to end the series for two decades.
Heath Ledger – 10 Things I Hate About You
A lesson in charisma in many ways: Ledger still manages to win the heart of Julia Stiles despite a six-years-too-late grunge look – particularly irksome when he ties it back for a paint fight. The Joker’s green ratty green locks were arguably an improvement.
Peter Cushing – Frankenstein And The Monster From Hell
Cushing was allergic to make-up adhesive, so always asked for the time to grow whiskers pre-production if he was required to have facial hair. Shame he didn’t get the same opportunity to work on his bonce. He did actually help design the wig for his final outing here as the evil Baron, but regretted the catastrophic outcome. “It made me look like [classic-era Hollywood actress] Helen Hayes,” he joked.
Christopher Lee – The Wicker Man
Standing in front of the Wicker Man with his hair blowing wildly in the wind, Lee’s Lord Summerisle looks fine. In the confines of his own home with it all combed into “shape”... less so.
Lon Chaney – The Phantom Of The Opera
The Man Of A Thousand Faces famously did all his own make-up and treated horror prosthetics as a sort of extreme sport. So let’s just call that the reason here.
Matthew Goode – Watchmen
You can’t really fault the fidelity to the comics here: blond, side parting, gold headband thing. It just looks silly on an actual actor.
Javier Bardem – Skyfall
Bardem, like Farrell and Cage, has had his share of bad movie hair days. He’s suffered particularly at the hands of Cormac McCarthy, both in No Country For Old Men and The Counselor. But let’s plump for Skyfall as his greatest misfortune: Bond villain as evil hairdresser.
Laurence Olivier – Henry V
Going by contemporary portraits, Olivier’s Henry V barnet is something like historically accurate. This is the reason artistic licence exists.
John Wayne – The Conqueror
There are ill-advised projects, and then there’s John Wayne playing Genghis Khan.
Samuel L. Jackson – Jumper
Like Bruce Willis, Jackson rocks a bald head with some aplomb. And like Willis, wigs keep happening to him. This silver affair from the wannabe teen franchise is one of his most notorious.
Bradley Cooper – American Hustle
Obviously Christian Bale’s hair is the source of some mirth throughout American Hustle. But let’s talk about Cooper’s perm – almost as evil, in its own way, as Sean Penn’s in Carlito’s Way. It took 100 rollers everyday on set, and three hours in the hair chair.
Colin Farrell – A New York Winter’s Tale
As promised, Farrell #3. Akiva Goldsman’s bizarre fable gives Farrell one more bizarre topknot: a floppy Madchester affair with an under-buzzcut thing going on. Recommended for twisting one’s melon, but not much else.