curlyism: hollywood's last taboo


Curlyism: Hollywood’s Last Taboo

Race, religion,or sexuality issues? TRY HAVING CURLY HAIR.

These days, Hollywood isn't allowed to discriminate on the basis of race or religion or sexual persuasion or - in theory - gender. But one taboo remains. One group of unfortunates still see themselves sidelined, ridiculed, disguised and excluded on a daily basis, and that group is the curly-haired. Specifically, men with curly hair don’t get dramatic, serious roles, and when they do, their hair is cut very short to reduce the ‘fro, or they wear a wig, or – worse of all – they have to have their hair straightened. Oh, the humanity!

Let’s start with curly-haired actors in general. You’re probably thinking along the lines of Will Ferrell, Seth Rogen, Sasha Baron Cohen, maybe Matthew McConaughy… all primarily comic actors. They've done serious roles, sure, but they are known and pigeonholed for their comic talents, by and large. Curly is funny in Hollywood’s eyes; that’s just how it is. Personally, I blame clowns, and more specifically, Harpo Marx. What a goon.

Then there’s the dark stranger sub-category, a rare example of curly-haired types who can have squiffly locks and occasionally bag themselves a decent dramatic role – but only if they’re a bit, you know, foreign. When it comes to Curly actors slipping through the dramatic filter, swarthy Hispanics are the order of the day, alongside European Don Juans. Key examples of this are Romain Duris, recently dancing dirtily in Heartbreaker (a French movie, but still), and Vincent Cassell, playing to French type in the last two Oceans movies as François Toulour, and soon to reappear on Hollywood’s radar in Aronofsky’s Black Swan.

So, barring rarely seen Europeans, who are the ringletted non-comedic actors who’ve made it into the A-list in serious roles? Or the B-list, even? John C. Reilly, alas, no longer counts after his comedy turns in Step Brothers, Tagadella Nights, and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, so who else is there?

That’s right, Orlando Bloom and Shia LaBeouf. I’ll just let that settle in for you there.

If you look at Orlando’s biggest roles, he’s either wearing a wig (of very straight hair, incidentally) in the Lord Of The Rings trilogy, he's got it straightened somewhat, as seen in Kingdom of Heaven, or it's even been shaved off in Black Hawk Down (but we’ll let them off on that front, what with being an Army Ranger and all). And in Troy he's in European lothario mode (plus, it's 'the past') so only then are the curls amped up to the max. Besides that, there’s the typical "pulled back so hard you can’t see the devils’ curls" manoeuvre, seen, well, pretty much everywhere else he's appeared in. 

When we look at his curly brother-in-arms, Mr LaBeouf (crazy name, crazy hair) it’s a similar sad story. His curls are either cut so short you know they’re just hoping you won’t notice (Disturbia, Wall Street 2), straightened and pulled back (Transformers, 1, 2 and no doubt 3) or, goddamn it, hidden under a hat. That's right. A. Hat. See his comedy sidekick role in Constantine (flat cap) and I, Robot (baseball cap) for the shame-hiding headgear. Thank God for Jesse Eisenberg, whose roles in The Squid And The Whale and the upcoming The Social Network give hope for us all.

And as you might have guessed, I also have curly hair, and so this discrimination annoys me an unreasonable amount. And okay, maybe it’s just that there aren’t that many curly-haired people in the world, let alone Hollywood, but come on, hats! Wigs! Straightened! Let the hair free, Hollywood, or suffer the wrath of several people who look a little bit like Sideshow Bob.




well i think it's sexy!

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