How Hair and Makeup Artists Transformed Johnny Depp for ‘Black Mass’

Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.”

To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back wig would fit in, Casny first used a store-bought lace wig, cut in pieces and arranged on a mannequin.   Khanh Trance, the master ventilator/hair puncher, then traced this onto Joel Harlow’s sculpture of the make-up design.

After many tests the hairline eventually evolved into what ended up on screen.

The hair was punched into the silicone forehead one at a time.  This process took 22 hours and each piece could only be used once.

Casny and her team (headed by Lucia Mace) also had to accommodate fluctuating hairstyles during the film’s 20-year span, such as hair length over the men’s ears and graying.  Extensions were used to add length and gray lace pieces were glued in. Casny developed an elaborate map illustrating the rows where grey hair was introduced, enabling any team member to maintain continuity.

“There were lots of wigs on men,” said Casny.

More Artisans

  • American Animals

    North Carolina Encourages Production by Raising Project Cap

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • (l to r.) Director Boots Riley

    Colors, Sounds Change With Lead Character in 'Sorry to Bother You'

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • THE HANDMAID'S TALE Composer Adam TaylorPhoto

    'The Handmaid’s Tale’ Composer Adam Taylor Takes Cue From Elisabeth Moss

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • Summer Bay engineer, Tim Boles sorts

    'Amazing Race,' 'Deadliest Catch' Audio Teams Detail Challenges in Capturing Sound

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • No Merchandising. Editorial Use Only. No

    Artificial Intelligence Could One Day Determine Which Films Get Made

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • Movie Production Professionals Share Insights at

    Movie Artisans Share Insights at Variety Event in Karlovy Vary

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

  • First still from the set of

    Czech Producers Urge Politicians to Raise Incentives as Rivalry Heats Up

    Hair department head Gloria Casny loves Johnny Depp’s commitment to his characters.  Always “1,000% involved”, the actor had his hair blow dried flat, capped and clipped to accommodate the prosthetic and ventilated hairpieces that transformed him into balding criminal James “Whitey” Bulger in “Black Mass.” To figure out the hairline and where a ventilated back […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content