There’s seemingly a cheat code to making a character instantly appear tough, intimidating, and gritty: a shaved head. Commonly used in action films, this trick to toughen up characters is often used as a signifier to the audience that this person is ready for a fight. If they enter the story that way, it's probably a sign they're not to be trifled with; if they lose their hair mid-movie, it's usually representative of a harsh change in the character. Long a stereotype, it has been proven by science that bald people appear tougher and more intimidating than those with hair. And by comparing the typical roles of these actors to those they play with a shaved head, it becomes glaringly obvious that the simple trick is an effective one.
However, this shortcut — not a shaved head pun — isn’t only a method of displaying a character's grit, but can also be used as a tool to separate preconceived notions one might have about a character due to the actor portraying them. Once you become a movie star, it gets difficult to separate the face from the name. Whether they typically play the goofy hot guy or the pretty teen star, the last thing an actor wants is to not be taken seriously. Sometimes, when the role permits, the best thing an actor can do is release themselves from those previous bonds and make themselves unrecognizable. Sometimes that means losing or gaining weight or donning a wig and makeup - but when they choose to depart with their hair, it often gives us a new screen presence entirely.
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