By Jeff Waite on Jan 15, 2017 9:00:00 AM
One of the major strengths of wigs is the endless possibilities that they offer when a quick change of look is needed in a pinch. One moment you can go from brunette to blonde and even redhead, with absolutely no harm done at all to your natural hair, unlike hair dyes and other available options.
That being said, it becomes fairly obvious why hairpieces and wig are such a valued and commonly seen asset in today’s filmmaking industry.
Whether it be on the big screen or the little screen, there’s a good chance that a wig was used for a scene or two at least.
And believe us, they still see plenty of use in today’s movie and tv industries. Wigs never went anywhere, they just got more natural looking and therefore harder to spot, that’s why they don’t seem as prominent in today’s day and age cinema and tv shows. With the exception of some purposely, and some not so purposely bad looking wigs, wigs have flown under the radar of most moviegoers and tv fans thanks to the advances that have been made to make them look more believable and lifelike than ever.
But a question still stands. Why would big studio movies and tv shows risk using wigs if there’s a chance of them being spotted and breaking a watchers immersion?
Well, there a ton of reasons really.
Sometimes actors just don’t want to modify their natural hair. Most actors and actresses have several projects that they’re involved with at the same time, so getting a rad haircut for the portrayal of one character might conflict with another character’s appearance in a different project they’re in. And unlike body weight and shape (we’re looking and you Christian Bale), you can’t drastically alter your natural hair in a set amount of time, you’re stuck waiting for it to naturally grow back.
Another very valid reason to use a wig for a scene is to avoid the use of hair dyes. Many people don’t know this, but most hair dyes are incredibly harmful to natural hair. Sure, the final result might look awesome, but at what cost? Ammonia, which is an ingredient in most readily available hair dyes, literally lifts up your hair cuticle. And the second culprit, peroxide, destroys your current color.
Dyeing your hair once in a blue moon isn’t such a big of a deal, but imagine having to constantly do it to maintain a character’s appearance, and it becomes pretty apparent why some actors and actresses might choose the wig over the dye.
Another benefit of using wigs on set is the unmatched consistency they offer for a character’s appearance. While most movies and tv shows plots take place over the course of a couple of days or weeks, when in reality, these type of productions can sometimes take up to months and even years to wrap up.
Now, what better way to keep a character’s hairstyle consistent between takes that were shot 4 months apart from each other, than a wig or a hairpiece? They don’t get any longer or shorter, and they shouldn’t lose their coloration assuming they’re properly stored and cared for.
Now that we’ve talked about the reasons why wigs are so often used in today’s filmmaking industry, let’s talk about some actual films and tv shows with wigs in them, shall we?
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: We’re starting this off with a heavy hitter. Almost every single actor in the entire trilogy wore a hairpiece to complete their character’s looks. Ranging from hobbits to elves, regardless of the actor’s gender, there’s hardly one scene throughout the entire trilogy that doesn’t feature a wig sporting actor.
Supposedly, the only actors who never wore a wig to portray their iconic characters were David Wenham who played Faramir, and Sean Bean who played the character of Boromir. Or did they? With The Lord of the Rings heavy use of human hair wigs, it’s almost impossible to tell.
The Harry Potter Series: Now here’s one you might not know about. In the late Alan Rickman’s words: “In the first film, if anybody ever wants to look, of course you've got the problem of kids who can only work a certain number of hours. Sometimes there were 300 children on set, and at certain points, they all had to go off and do some schoolwork.”
So whenever the members of the movie’s iconic trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione weren’t facing the camera, like the scenes where the great Rickman can be seen giving a lecture in class, what you’re actually seeing “very small adult actors aged 33 with a wig on their heads”.
On the small screen side of things, we have the likes of shows like Game of Thrones, Westworld, Stranger Things, Vikings and The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story, just to name a few.
So yeah! It’s pretty safe to say without a doubt that wigs and hairpieces are still widely used in the movie and tv industries. The versatility and flexibility that they bring to the table are too much of an asset for filmmakers to ignore.
Got any other question for us? Feel free to give us a call at our toll-free number 1-800-756-8585. We’ll be more than happy to help you with any other burning questions or doubts you might have!