“All the world is a stage, and all the men and women merely players.” William Shakespeare, As You Like It. These words were repeated over and over in my mind this past year as I worked with a brilliant young actor friend to prepare for his role as Twiggz in the Indie film, Tucht, scheduled for release Summer, 2015.
Darrin Hickok and I became good friends a few years ago when he worked as my physical trainer, and about a year ago, he let me know he wanted to grow out his hair for an important role he had just landed (without a reel, which goes to show how talented he is). He was told to perhaps wear a wig, because production was due to start. His hair at that time was short and spiky, as you can see in the first photo. But the film, based on the lives of 8 people involved in the cycle of abuse and violence, was so realistic and gritty, he wanted his physicality to be as authentic as possible. Darrin wanted long and strong-looking hair to complement his character of a man, abused as a child, who becomes a flamboyant yet strong gay adult. Luckily, production was delayed for almost a year, giving him an opportunity to get his hair into shape as he internally worked on preparing for his role.
This is a symbiotic relationship, as any actor can tell you. Think of Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady, or Charlize Theron in Monster, or anything by Daniel Day Lewis, all great actors that use their physicality, their hair, makeup, voice and body to evolve and channel the character they are portraying. Darrin’s transformation, which you can see here, was amazing and brilliant, just like his performance.
Whether you are a man or a woman, growing out your hair can be a painful process. When the starting point is short and layered, you can’t just let it go. You have to shape it continually to make the process less awkward looking. Darrin came to see me three times at first, so that I could allow the shortest top layers to start to grow, while evening out the back and sides. Here’s a picture of his third visit. You can see it’s really getting into shape as he is transforming more and more into his character. By this stage, he was ready to let it just grow. It was several months until I saw him again this weekend. By now, his hair had completely grown out, but needed a shaping. It was also acting very curly and unruly, forcing him to pull it back into a ponytail for most of the day. I first gave him some highlights, to strengthen his hair color and give him a surfer look, then did a keratin straightening to help keep his hair smooth and under control. Then, I gave him a trim to freshen and add movement. The final result? A real lion’s mane, which will look like this right out of the shower, something that really works with his Leo personality. To give it polish, I gave him John Masters Organics Hair Pomade, which he can rake through the hair after it’s dry to keep its shape.
I’m sure this role is just the beginning of Darrin’s brilliant career, which he is now facing with new strength of achievement, and is reflected in his powerful look. As the Bard says, “They all have their exits and entrances, and every man in his time plays many parts.” Word.