Actors who went Bald for a Role

Despite having a number of already bald actors in the world, those still with a full head of hair often shave and buzz their heads in order to portray roles in films and TV shows. Often met with a strong response, these actors obviously get paid a huge amount to do this, but they shouldn’t worry so much about it. Most of them look pretty damn good with the look, even the women!


Below we’ve compiled a list of 23 of those actors and actresses who decided to shave down for a role (or two roles in some cases). Hopefully what this list will show you is that having a shaved head almost always doesn't make you look any less attractive than when you have hair. And it certainly looks better than having severely thinning hair!

Tom Hardy – Bronson (2008) & The Dark Knight Rises (2012)



The British actor has starred in huge Hollywood blockbusters such as Mad Max, Venom, Warrior & Legend. Hardy shaved his head to play the role of super-villain Bain in Christopher Nolan’s 2012 film and earlier in his career when he portrayed the infamous and violent prisoner Charles Bronson in the titular role of the film. Hardy is no stranger to a muscular physique, and he certainly packed on the padding for both of these roles, and he really looked the part.


 

Bryan Cranston & Aaron Paul – Breaking Bad (2008-2013)



Both actors took to the razor in the extremely popular series about a man with cancer who becomes a crystal meth kingpin. Cranston shaved his head in order to portray cancer patient Walter White, whereas Paul did it to help enhance the bad kid persona of his character Jesse Pinkman.


 

Matt Damon – Elysium (2013)



Blonde Bostonian Matt Damon is famous for playing Jason Bourne in the Bourne Trilogy, amongst other great roles including Good Will Hunting. For the 2013 futuristic film he went bald to play the lead, soldier character Max DeCosta, and it actually suited him!


 

Natalie Portman – V for Vendetta (2005)



Not only did Natalie Portman shave her head for this film, she famously had it done on camera as part of the film – now that’s pretty bold (no pun intended). She actually said once or twice that she quite enjoyed the feeling of having a shaved head – can you blame her?


 

Jeff Bridges – Iron Man (2008)



Chilled out movie legend Jeff Bridges is probably most famous for his role in the iconic cult film The Big Lebowski where he basically played an exaggerated version of himself! Known for his big bead and long hair, Bridges adorned a different look to play Obadiah Stane.


 

Jake Gyllenhaal – Jarhead (2005)



As most marines and soldiers do in real life, Gyllenhaal went with the buzzcut look for his role in Jarhead, a film which seemed to be about the less interesting side of war and combat. Also known for roles in films like Brokeback Mountain and Love & Other Drugs, he also rocked a pretty short haircut in the 2015 boxing film Southpaw.


 

Michael Rosenbaum – Smallville (2001-2011)



Talk about commitment, Rosenbaum shaved his head consistently for years on end to play famous superhero villain Lex Luthor in the TV show based on the chronicles of a young Superman.

 

Marlon Brando – Apocalypse Now (1979)



Francis Ford Coppola’s epic film about the Vietnam War was certainly not for the faint hearted, neither was Brando’s character. Brando was known through his life for progressively putting on more and more weight, but it was usually paired with a head of hair. In Apocalypse Now he went with the shaved head to represent his maniacal character, Colonel Kurtz. If you've ever thought to yourself "why do people look evil with a shaved head?" it's probably because of characters like this!


 

Joseph Gordon-Levitt – 50/50 (2011)



Another actor who actually shaved their head on camera during filming (which was apparently unscripted, hence the look on his co-starts face!), Gordon-Levitt portrayed a cancer patient in the 2011 film alongside Seth Rogan. Known previously for films like 10 Things I Hate About You and TV show 3rd Rock From the Sun, he grew into quite the actor and occasional badass in later career.


 

James McAvoy – X-Men (various) & Split (2016)



The Scottish actor is known for playing a wide variety of roles, as early as his British TV career in the show Shameless. He later went on to portray a fictional doctor character in the film The Last King of Scotland, alongside Forest Whitaker. McAvoy went bald for his role as Professor X in the X-Men franchise. He later went bald (and ripped) again to star in the 2016 film Split.


 

James Franco – Zeroville (2019)



Comedy actor James Franco is better known for roles in films such as Pineapple Express and the based-on-true-story film 127 Hours. Franco went bald for his role in the 2019 film about an ex-communicated seminarian called Vikar. Despite a few big names in the film, including Megan Fox and Seth Rogan, the film didn’t do too well!


 

Timothy Olyphant – Hitman (2007)



Often known for his roles as a cool bad guys in films like Go and The Girl Next Door, Olyphant went bald to play the role of the genetically enhanced assassin, only known as Agent 47 in the 2007 film Hitman - which was based on the video game.

Rupert Friend – Hitman: Agent 47



Following in Olyphant’s steps, Rupert Friend (better known for his role as Peter Quinn in the critically acclaimed TV show Homeland) also went bald to play the role of the deadly Agent 47 in the sequel.


 

Demi Moore – GI Jane (1997)



90s beauty Demi Moore became extremely famous for her role in the 1990 film Ghost, alongside Hollywood heartthrob Patrick Swayze. After striking gold with the 1996 film Striptease, More went with the buzzcut look to portray the role of Lieutenant Jordan O’Neil in the 1997 film G.I Jane.

 

Tom Cruise – Minority Report (2002)



Hollywood legend Tom Cruise has turned heads for decades and is no stranger to making a few big moves (he does all his own stunts and famously hung out the top of the Burj Khalifa in Dubai when filming Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Cruise was only bald for the final scene of Minority Report, and he could’ve very easily just worn the bald cap. But instead he decided to actually shave his head – now how about that for commitment!


 

Kevin Spacey – Se7en (1995) & Superman Returns (2006)



One of the most well known actors in Hollywood (for good and bad reasons), Spacey has starred in numerous box office hits including American Beauty, LA Confidential and the Netflix show House of Cards. Twice in his career, Spacey went bald to play villains in the 90s action film Se7en and again in 2006 to play Lex Luthor in Superman Returns.


 

Christian Bale – American Hustle (2013)



Hollywood superstar Christian Bale is famous for really getting into his roles and undergoing dramatic physical changes to portray characters; most notoriously when he dropped a vast amount of weight (over 60lbs) for his role in the 2004 film The Machinist. When playing the role of Irving Rosenfeld in American Hustle, Bale reportedly shaved his head in order to make it easier to throw on a bad toupee instead of the hair and make-up team working around his normal hairline – how thoughtful of him!

 

Cara Delevingne – Life in a Year (2017)



There’s no denying that this London born model-turned-actress is an incredibly attractive woman no matter what her hair style. Maybe that’s what gave Delevingne the courage to brave the shave for her role as Isabelle in Life in a Year; a teenager who is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. She actually kept the look for a little while after the film so it seems she didn’t mind it!

 

Hugh Jackman – Pan (2015)



Better known as Logan/Wolverine in the X-Men franchise, Australian actor Jackman has also starred in numerous other hit films including Les Miserables and The Greatest Showman. In the 2015 film Pan, Jackman went bald to portray the villainous pirate Blackbeard.

 

Bruce Willis – Unbreakable (2000)



Now you’re probably thinking “hasn’t Bruce Willis basically always been bald?” and your answer would be no. Willis actually rocked the receding hairline look for many years through the 90s, once shaving his head for a role in in the 1995 film 12 Monkeys alongside Brad Pitt. But he took the permanent plunge after doing it again for the M. Night Shyamalan film Unbreakable. I guess after that he decided it was easier to keep it – this was right after he appeared as a cameo in “Friends”.

 

Matthew McConaughey – Reign of Fire (2002)



Ultra chilled out Texan actor McConaughey is known for multiple films and a wide range of roles, from the 1993 film Dazed and Confused to Magic Mike, The Lincoln Lawyer and the 2013 hit The Wolf of Wall Street. In 2002, McConaughey went bald for his role as Denton Van Zan in the fantasy-future film about dragons in England.

 

Antonio Banderas – Autómata (2014)



One of the most famous Spanish actors ever, Banderas began his career in early Almodovar films, but went on to play big hit roles in films like Desperado, The Mask of Zorro and even voicing Puss in Boots in the Shrek films. In 2014, Banderas went bald to play the role of Jacq Vaucan in the sci-fi film Autómata.