×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Hunter’s hair softens, adds depth

Different 'dos enable eclectic characters

Long, tousled and Rapunzelesque, Holly Hunter’s formidably feminine locks deserve mention as supporting actors in their own right, as they regularly serve to soften and add depth to her typically feisty characters.

But examine her repertoire and you’ll discover there’s much more to the 5-foot-nothing Hunter than long hair and cojones. Masterfully malleable, Hunter is the ideal blank canvas, slipping easily from a period bonnet, fingerless gloves and looped braids (in “The Piano”) to talonlike nails and a suburban perm (in “The Firm”) and a fetishy square bob and pantyhose (in David Cronenberg’s “Crash”). Quirky, intense and physical, Hunter is a covert chameleon whose myriad physical guises are as eclectic as the roles she plays.

“When Billie Beat Bobby” (2001)
Foot-Forward Feminist Mullet
Holly Hunter is virtually unrecognizable in this 2001 TV biopic about the 1973 tennis match between court star Billie Jean King and middle-aged champ Bobby Riggs. To authentically portray BJK, the actress ditched her regular mane in favor of a mullet wig and Palm Springs-style visor teamed with pastel tennis tunics, enormous vintage glasses and lapels. Her naturally toned and wiry frame added to the believability of this period look, an authentic slice of 1970s feminist history.

“Crash” (1996)
Square-Cut Subversion
Was it the conservative business suit teamed with black-leather driving gloves? Or maybe the way she caressed her sheer black pantyhose or clutched Rosanna Arquette’s prosthetic leg in the back seat of a convertible? In David Cronenberg’s “Crash,” Holly Hunter’s uneasy blend of propriety and deviance revealed another facet to her sex appeal, one in which a dowdy helmet bob (reminiscent of Vogue editor Anna Wintour’s iconic ‘do) masks her self-destructive urges.

Saving Grace” (2007)
Blond Flower-Child Braids
For her TV role as Grace, a tough-as-nails Oklahoma City police detective subject to the occasional angelic visitation, Hunter uses her flowing locks to full effect, contrasting her character’s forceful demeanor with blond flower-child braids that hint at vulnerability and softness within. Hunter has said she specifically requested the braided style because of its association with tradition and classic femininity.

“O Brother, Where Art Thou?” (2000)
Sunday-Best Southern Matriarch
Here Hunter plays Penny, a pursed-lipped, Depression-era mother of seven who sports sensible calf-length frocks and tucks her tresses beneath a series of rather prim straw cloche hats. Her mouselike appearance serves to contast the obvious truth — that she’s the one wearing the pants in the relationship with her caddish hubby.

“A Life Less Ordinary” (1997)
Locked-and-Loaded Bounty Hunter
In Danny Boyle’s gonzo romance, Hunter plays a glamorous angel-slash-bounty hunter in danger of being banished to Earth unless she can bring together the most hapless couple imaginable. Her comically clipped, deadpan delivery is accentuated by high-fashion-meets-Wall-Street costumes — pointed shoulder pads and power suits accented with an enormous beret perched atop her flowing hair — all of which add extra stiffness to a character who clearly has no inkling of what love is.

“The Incredibles” (2004)
Soccer Mom Bob
Pixar’s “The Incredibles” was animated, but one could easily have imagined Hunter, who voiced Elastigirl, playing the role onscreen. A superhero turned average American, Elastigirl’s purposely “normal” soccer mom bob is so suburban, so cliched, it of course hints at the frustration and chaos that seethe within — themes Hunter relishes.

More Scene

  • Chrissy TeigenBaby2Baby Gala, Arrivals, 3Labs, Los

    Chrissy Teigen Receives Giving Tree Award at 2019 Baby2Baby Gala

    Chrissy Teigen accepted the “Giving Tree” Award at the 2019 Baby2Baby Gala on Saturday with a speech chockful of her trademark humor and humility. Upon receiving a standing ovation, Teigen laughingly told the star-studded crowd to sit down, joking that she is more accustomed to receiving an accolade for “Best Titties” at the Spike TV [...]

  • Co-host Rita Moreno performs on stage

    Rita Moreno's Role in New 'West Side Story' Is More Than a Cameo: 'It’s a Real Part'

    During her live show, “An Evening with Rita Moreno,” Saturday night, Rita Moreno told the audience she will have a “real” role in next December’s “West Side Story” remake, which recently wrapped shooting, and that she initially had concerns about the film’s production. “At first, it was interesting when I heard there were rumors that [...]

  • Charlize Theron American Cinematheque

    Seth Rogen, Seth MacFarlane Roast Charlize Theron During Bawdy American Cinematheque Ceremony

    As Charlize Theron accepted the 33rd American Cinematheque honor at the Beverly Hilton on Friday night, the atmosphere more resembled a roast than a reverential evening celebrating the cinematic achievements of an Oscar winner. Presenters like Seth Rogen, Kristen Stewart and Seth MacFarlane shared bawdy jokes and reveals about what it’s really like working with [...]

  • Katie Couric

    Katie Couric Says Matt Lauer 'Ultimately Turned Out to Be Two Very Different People'

    Katie Couric discussed Matt Lauer, the Me Too movement and female leadership in business at the Dress for Success annual Women Who Inspire breakfast in New York City on Wednesday. Couric, who spoke during a fireside chat at the nonprofit’s female empowerment event, was asked about Lauer’s ouster from the “Today” show, and the many [...]

  • Tina Turner Musical

    Oprah Winfrey Joins Tina Turner for the Opening Night of 'Tina' Musical on Broadway

    On Thursday night in New York City, Tina Turner joined the ranks of Cher, Donna Summer, the Temptations and the Jersey Boys — Carole King, too — baptized, as it were, in the disco inferno of a high-powered Broadway jukebox. “Tina: The Tina Turner Musical” joins a steady stream of bio-musicals bent on squeezing, often [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content