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John Travolta and Hugh Jackman in Swordfish

While wigs are sometimes a Hollywood necessity, bad wigs can ruin a whole production. One ratty skunk pelt slapped on the star of your $200 million blockbuster and your movie’s in the toilet, while audiences laugh you all the way to the Razzies. Even the best actor can’t overcome a bad wig, and many have tried, including pretty much the entire cast of the new movie The Big Short. Below, some of the wiggiest wigs in all of film and television, from Samuel L. Jackson’s snow white locks in Jumper to whatever garbage is plopped on Stephen Amell’s head in those Arrow flashbacks.

1. Taylor Lautner, Twilight and The Twilight Saga: New Moon

Lautner, left, with the similarly unfortunate Kristen Stewart

Poor Taylor Lautner. The wigs in the Twilight movies were never good, but for whatever reason, Lautner always seemed to get saddled with the worst mop. Lautner’s wig in the first Twilight movie was already low-budget and laughable, but after the movies hit it big, it’s like the series kept spending more and more money to make wigs that looked increasingly ratty. Things were especially bad in New Moon, when Lautner’s wig was styled to look rough and wispy, a move that wouldn’t even have worked on someone who was using their real hair. Thankfully, Lautner’s character, Jacob, cut his hair for the third movie, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, but by then the hairy damage was already done. [Marah Eakin]

2. Megan Boone, The Blacklist


In casting James Spader as the lead of The Blacklist, NBC selected a lead with the charisma and scenery-chewing gusto to carry a show on his own. So perhaps to balance that out, they gave his female lead Megan Boone a wig that couldn’t help but call attention to itself on screen, between its clearly inorganic qualities and distracting hairline. In interviews Boone argued it was a “character choice” for Elizabeth Keen to have longer hair, but said interviews mostly gave the impression that there was nothing wrong with her real hair and made the decision even more distracting. It was so bad that they had to make the character’s move to chop it off a prominent scene in the season two premiere, and showrunner Jon Bokenkamp came out in a Q&A to clarify in no uncertain terms: “The wig is dead, thank God.” [Les Chappell]

3. Samuel L. Jackson, Jumper


Samuel L. Jackson has certainly donned his share of bad wigs—probably an inevitable side effect of appearing in what feels like roughly 400 films a year, not to mention those inescapable Capital One ads—but even within a filmography that includes a samurai up-do (in The Spirit), his wannabe silver fox from Jumper deserves a mention. Sporting what looks like a glued-on piece of short carpeting, his hair is probably meant to be striking in a way that suggests menace, but instead comes across like someone in the makeup trailer lost a bet. He’ll likely have more absurd hairpieces in the coming years, but hopefully none that are quite so effective at making your musings about his faux follicles more compelling than the film you’re watching. [Alex McCown]

4. Nicolas Cage, Ghost Rider


Nicolas Cage’s ever-shifting hairline, which ebbs and flows like a gentle follicular wave lapping against the artificially smooth shores of his forehead, is the subject of much internet debate, to the extent that a quick Google search for “Nicolas Cage hairline” reveals multiple lists, investigations, and even video essays on the subject. But while there’s a bounty of bad hairpieces to choose from in Cage’s filmography, one of the worst has to be his mismatched rug in Ghost Rider. The top of the wig doesn’t match the sides either in color or in texture, giving the appearance of a toupee bought on clearance from the Donald Trump Menswear Collection. Frankly, it looks like the most flammable thing on him. [Katie Rife]

5. Charlize Theron, The Devil’s Advocate


The over-the-top color of latter-day Al Pacino is on full display in The Devil’s Advocate, as he bellows such proclamations as “I’m the hand up Mona Lisa’s skirt!” and “Guilt is like a bag of fuckin’ bricks!” However, even more distracting is the wig sported by Charlize Theron’s Mary Ann Lomax in the first part of the movie. Described by Entertainment Weekly as a “straight-from-the-trailer-park perm,” her curls are so awful and assertive that it positions the audience to hate the character from the first scene. It earns a pass though as it exists only to be chopped off in favor of a sleeker cut after the first act, one urged on by Pacino in one of those over-the-top speeches: “A woman’s shoulders are the frontlines of her mystique. And her neck, if she’s alive, has the very mystery of a border town.” The speech wasn’t necessary, Al. We just wanted that look gone. [Les Chappell]

6. Corey Stoll, The Strain


It’s rare that a wig is so bad that producers have to go on a media blitz to explain why it’s there in the first place. At the 2014 Television Critics Association, Guillermo Del Toro and Carlton Cuse spent some of their precious time in front of press defending that god-awful hairpiece. “If you know the books or where it’s heading, we needed the character to change his look, to be able to mix into the normal population without being seen,” Del Toro told TCA of Corey Stoll’s character. “We needed him to have a look that could be altered… and unless he grows a beard or has an eye patch, we needed somewhere for him to go.” Maybe an eye patch would have been better considering how excited the internet got when Stoll finally “shaved” it off. No one has missed the hairpiece that was so voluminous it looked like it was floating above his head. Stoll has gone on the record talking about how he was skeptical of his hairpiece at first, before eventually appreciating it because it became a “mask” of sorts, which is a nice public-relations-friendly way of toeing the company line. [Molly Eichel]

7. Robin Tunney, The Craft


Any fan of both Empire Records and The Craft can put two and two together regarding the movies’ release dates and figure out that, since Tunney had shaved her head for Empire, there was no way she’d grown back a full head of luscious locks before The Craft filmed. (Hair extension technology being not anywhere close to what it is now.) And while that kind of dumb luck enabled the film to do some fun stuff, like Tunney’s onscreen witchcraft induced hair color change, it also made for a really bad wig. Specifically, the poop-brown monstrosity Tunney wears most of the film. At times both frizzy and flat, the wig comes complete with big floppy mid-’90s bangs and some unflattering “Rachel” layers, and sits so far back on Tunney’s forehead that it makes a normally gamine actress look almost boxy. No wonder Tunney’s character looks so glum throughout that whole production. She’s got a big gross rug on her head. [Marah Eakin]

8. Ginnifer Goodwin, Once Upon A Time


From its very start, Once Upon A Time had a lot to juggle, with present-day Storybrookers frequently flashing back to their fairy-tale roots. Ginnifer Goodwin’s Mary Margaret Blanchard had an adorable pixie cut in the present-day scenes, ostensibly both to differentiate herself and to fit more easily under the wig she wore as Snow White. Unfortunately, instead of a wig, the showrunners pulled out a snared mess of rotting detritus, a hopelessly tangled web of black wire, a prospective home for a family of possums. And then kept using it. It was so confounding: Are wigs in such short supply in the world of Hollywood productions? Was the horrific state of Snow White’s hair supposed to indicate something, like how much of a bandit she was? Don’t people actually want to look good at their own wedding? Like so many bad wigs, all Snow White’s hair does is raise baffling, maddening questions. Charming’s lengthy metal-esque flashback wig is downright dreamy in comparison. [Gwen Ihnat]

9. Stephen Amell, Arrow

Amell, left, in his bad wig.

It’s understandable that when Arrow decided to commit to a flashback structure, it would want to make it clear how Oliver Queen had changed after his time on Lian Yu. Unfortunately, the way they chose to depict that difference was largely by way of his stringy blond locks in those flashbacks, casting him as an uncaring rich kid at the start and made increasingly grimy and progressively more conspicuous as his odyssey continued. This could have been forgiven, but as Arrow progressed it became increasingly clear how much the flashback scenes were the least compelling part of the series, and the appearance of his longer hair called even more attention to being taken away from all the fun superhero feats taking place in Starling City. If only he’d been able to find a pair of scissors while foraging, the transition could have been so much easier. [Les Chappell]

10. Colin Farrell, Alexander

Farrell, right, with Angelina Jolie

In the grand scheme of everything that is wrong with Oliver Stone’s “epic” tale of Alexander The Great, the wig that Colin Farrell wears as the titular conqueror feels like almost an afterthought. Yet his bleached-blond look was so assertively awful that it still manages to rise above such badness as Angelina Jolie vamping and Anthony Hopkins monologuing ad infinitum. It’s a look that CNN compared to “a Babylonian hooker after a busy Saturday night,” and one that gets even worse once it becomes clear they didn’t bother to dye Farrell’s eyebrows to match his hair, making it the only thing you can notice in any of his scenes. And when audiences saw the breadth of the film’s artificiality, they wept, for there were no more reasons to keep watching. [Les Chappell]

11. Bruce Willis, Surrogates


For most of his career, Bruce Willis has been known as a bald guy. Even in his early Moonlighting/Die Hard days, he had a thinning coif atop his head. His bald-and-proud status made the blond travesty he used in Surrogates all the more jarring. The concept of Surrogates is that in the future, people live through idealized android versions of themselves while their real bodies are preserved. These surrogates are bigger, stronger, faster, and more importantly, better looking than the real people whose minds inhabit and control them. So if Willis is supposed to look better in droid form, why in God’s name does he have to wear that limp blond mop on his head? When Willis’ FBI agent Tom Greer ditches his surrogate to investigate a murder, his real haggard form looks considerably better solely because of the lack of wig. [Molly Eichel]

12. Shemar Moore, Diary Of A Mad Black Woman


Let’s just get this out of the way first: Shemar Moore is a beautiful man. That’s probably one of the reasons he was cast in Tyler Perry’s film debut. Moore plays Orlando, the kind and studly paramour of Kimberly Elise’s jilted title character. His love saves her from an abusive husband who had already once kicked her to the curb. But then, tragedy struck. Moore was sidled with the worst cornrows in cinematic history. His scalp seems to be covered in Astroturf, and the braids that hang from underneath his bandana look stringy and inert, unlike, say, real human hair. Thankfully, Moore’s regular gig on Criminal Minds allows him to go his natural cue ball look. [Molly Eichel]

13. Halle Berry, The Call


In The Call, Halle Berry plays Jordan Turner, a 911 dispatcher trying to outwit a serial killer who scalps young blonds due to a perverse fixation with the beautiful mane his late sister lost during her battle with cancer. It seems like a lot of hassle and homicide just to feel real human hair against his skin, but Berry’s hilariously awful wig justifies his rationale, if perhaps not his approach. The crazy tangle of short brown curls, which looks better suited to a googly eyed lunch-bag puppet, seems to float two inches above her head at all times. The wig invited enough ridicule to inspire its own Twitter handle, and forced Berry to craft a crisis response during the press cycle. “We modeled it after somebody we saw in one of the centers,” she said in an interview. Not cool, Halle. Not cool at all. [Joshua Alston]

14. John Travolta, Swordfish


Although Hugh Jackman has heavily frosted tips in this movie, he doesn’t have the most regrettable ’do. That dubious honor goes to his co-star, John Travolta, who plays a character named Gabriel Shear, of all things, while wearing a chin-length bob and an overgrown soul patch. Gabriel is ostensibly an international criminal mastermind, but the combination of his mushroom wig and what appears to be a treasure trail on his chin makes him look like the long-lost Butabi brother. When he swaps the Eurotrash look for a cropped blond cut, it’s probably to avoid embarrassment along with the authorities. [Danette Chavez]

15. Jessica Alba, Fantastic Four: Rise Of The Silver Surfer


The 2005 Fantastic Four film and its 2007 sequel could be considered unnecessary for a lot of reasons, but one of those films’ biggest transgressions surprisingly came at the sake of sticking to the source material: by having Latina actress Jessica Alba bleach her hair blond, wear blue-eyed contacts, and lighten her skin to play the Sue Storm role. That entire situation is grounds for a whole other Inventory, but the key part for this one is the hair. The 2005 film saw Alba go all the way with the hair situation, but in 2007, that wasn’t even an option. Prior to filming the sequel, Alba told USA Today: “I went blond for the first one, but I might try a wig for the sequel. I had to chop my hair off because it got so damaged [from the hair dye].” And she did try a wig. A bad wig. A really, really bad wig. What was truly fantastic was how the characters in the film didn’t treat the wig itself like it was a threat. One particularly specific description said it was like Jessica Alba was “forced to wear a ridiculously bad wig that a neophyte drag queen from a small town in Nebraska would have turned her nose up at.” Maybe just call it the curse of being Fantastic, as Kate Mara had to don a blond wig for the 2015 Fantastic Four re-shoots and didn’t fare much better. Hopefully the next Fantastic Four film visits the set of The Americans before it goes on a wig hunt. [LaToya Ferguson]

16. Al Pacino, 88 Minutes


The ’00s were not a flattering period for Pacino, follicle-wise or professionally. The once-great thespian became a grim caricature of himself, phoning in cash-in roles in low-rent potboilers Righteous Kill and 88 Minutes. In a stark counterpoint to his sleepy performances, Pacino’s wigs grew increasingly disturbing and erratic. In the abysmal 88 Minutes, Pacino plays an insanely wealthy Seattle college professor and forensic specialist for hire, whose rich, mahogany tan is just as baffling as the plot. His windswept coif flies high, conjuring the alarming image of Carlito Brigante after a tanning bed accident on a particularly windy day. In a film with characters named Johnny D’Franco, J.T. Rycker, and Guy LaForge, his wig is one of the more sane spectacles on screen. [Drew Fortune]

17. Emma Stone, The Help


Emma Stone has lovely hair, so why the people behind The Help decided to slap a wig on her head during the film’s production is really anyone’s guess. Maybe they thought her hair was too nice? Or that actually curling her hair every single day would just take too much time, when instead they could throw an almost too-perfect mop on her instead? Either way, the results were pretty bleak, even when Stone’s character, Skeeter, grew up a bit and started growing into her looks. At least they didn’t try to make her play Asian. [Marah Eakin]

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