Critics are calling Javier Bardem's haircut in "No Country for Old Men" a Prince Valiant, a Dutch Boy, even a Ringo Starr. Or, as I like to call it, the adult male Suri Cruise.
Paul LeBlanc, the Oscar-winning hairstylist/makeup artist responsible for Bardem's deranged 'do, just calls it what it is: "It's a kind of bob. But Vidal Sassoon or Frederic Fekkai definitely wouldn't like it."
The famed film hairdresser, who has worked with the Coen brothers since "O Brother, Where Art Thou?," collaborated closely with the film's costume designer Mary Zophres to create a blunt bowl cut for Anton "Sugar" Chigurh, the creepiest psycho killer since Hannibal Lecter.
It's fitting that Chigurh carries a cattle stun gun to dispatch his wide-eyed and helpless victims. And he has a game. Staring at his baffled human prey, he flips a coin and asks them to call it. Heads or tails, you might just win your life.
According to LeBlanc, Joel and Ethan wanted Chigurh to look strange and unsettling. Although the film takes place in the early 1980s, his nondescript, inexpensive polyester duds range from the '60s and '70s, and he keeps the threads eerily spotless and pressed. He always wipes his boots after the gory slayings.
But neither his boots nor his polyester pants combos have attracted the kind of attention that his head-turning haircut has elicited among "No Country's" fans. So we let LeBlanc flip a coin and then demanded that he spill his secrets.
What was the thinking about the cut?
It's a kind of a bi-historical hairstyle. It could be the 17th century, it could be the '70s. We don't know where Chigurh comes from or where he's going. Who is he? Is he even a real human being?
I wanted to find something that would be different from other "monsters" in films. My job was to make him into an individual, a bit strange and twisted, with a lot of question marks.
It's not a cute cut, but it wasn't meant to be. You could go anywhere in the world and run into someone with this hair and not want to go in a dark alley with him. And this was definitely not a guy who would go to a hairstylist. I had the feeling he might cut his hair himself.
Did Bardem have input into the cut too?
I asked him what he didn't like. I always ask that, not what the actors want, but what they don't like. Everyone has something. He wanted both sides to be full, not one side flatter than the other. It sounds strange but that's a conscious thing. He didn't want the side that is parted to be shorter or less full than the other side.
How long did it take to find the right cut?
Javier had been growing his hair so I was able to cut it over the course of two days to get it where we wanted it. He loved the cut but he says he never wants to wear it again!
What was the reaction to the cut?
When the haircut was done and we showed Joel and Ethan, Ethan said, "Paul, you've really outdone yourself this time."
Is hair important in the Coens' movies?
Oh, yes. Very important. They describe people in their script and talk about hairdos. Ethan is very interested in hair. Hair is the frame for the actor's face and a key to their character. I love doing period and working with directors to create hairstyles for characters.
And when the character turns out as special as this one, it's a big bonus. I never thought all this would happen.
What's the best part of your job?
Being the last to see the actors before they go onset. They're dressed, get makeup and then we do the hair. I find this part fascinating because they're getting into character and I can see it happening in the mirror when I work. I watched Javier change. Bobby De Niro is like that, too. You can see him changing into the character in the mirror.
I hope he didn't ask you to flip a coin.
Oh, my. No, he didn't, thankfully. But we had a lot of conversations.
Will this haircut start a new trend?
Oh, dear. I sort of hope not. Although kids now are wearing haircuts that we wore in the '60s, so perhaps it could catch on.
Watch "No Country for Old Men" head hairdresser Paul LeBlanc talk about creating Javier Bardem's creepy haircut, and on working with his favorite directors, Joel and Ethan Coen.Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times