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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.

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