Stylist Linda Flowers had run with Vince’s “Entourage,” played with “Angels & Demons” and even primped a “Social Network” tycoon for his profile picture, but the Hollywood veteran took on her hairiest project yet with the eye-popping adaptation of “The Hunger Games.” As the film’s hair department head, Flowers, in harmony with director Gary Ross’ vision, crafted the iconic, and frequently candy-colored, ‘dos of Effie Trinket and more than 500 Capitol citizens. We hopped on the phone with Flowers to chat about the meticulous mentor’s look, Woody Harrelson’s unconventional Haymitch style and where exactly all that hair went after Ross yelled, “Cut!”
MTV News: What was your experience reading “The Hunger Games” for the first time? Did you start formulating looks as you read?
Linda Flowers: When I read it, I fell in love with it, and I read all three of them very quickly. It’s such a great story, and it’s gonna appeal to so many different demographics. Anytime you get to read a book with colorful characters and they’ve got pink hair and blue hair, I’m in. My imagination was going crazy. I mean, how often do you get to put pink hair on somebody?
MTV: What did you and Gary discuss during your initial conversation?
Flowers: Gary’s main concern was with all the colored hair. He wanted people to take the Capitol seriously, and he wanted the looks to be couture. So when you’re talking about orange and aqua and pink and blue hair, the first place people go is very young, and they think it is more a street look or an urban look for kids. But the challenge was to put it on all age groups and make it look couture.
MTV: Logistically, this had to be a grand-scale production. Describe a typical day on set.
Flowers: When we were at the peak of all of our Capitol people, I had 45 hairdressers working because everyone had to go through hair and makeup. Each person had an individual look. When you do period movies, the hair is already set, the period has already been set, but there was nothing established for the look of this because it’s in the future. Each person that sat down, a look had to be created for them even if they were, like, #500 on the call sheet. So that was a real challenge, and plus, not just the hairdressers to do their hair, but we had to have a clean-up crew come in when we wrapped to take everyone’s hair, wigs and pieces off to reset them and get them ready for the next day. So it was an around-the-clock deal because we have 30 to 40 people doing hair and 10 to 15 to come in when we wrapped and take everyone down so the hairdressers could go home and sleep to get ready for the next day.
MTV: Who had the most time-consuming look?
Flowers: It was Effie, but the good thing was I could do Effie’s hair when she wasn’t in the trailer. Her hair definitely took the most time. From start to finish it was about 45 minutes, and I’m really fast. I constructed it slowly. She’s one of those people who’s so completely and purposefully put together that her wig would be an accessory just like a purse or a pair of shoes. So she has three wigs in the movie, and we’re going to have more for her in the next movie.
She wears three different looks, and they’re all the same shape. I picked a classic shape, which has a ’30s finger-wave bob, and I took that and I really brushed it out, but it kept the finger waves, and I gave it a lot of volume. And then I took really heavily textured hair and put it in between the layers of her finger waves.
MTV: It sounds like you’re already planning ahead for “Catching Fire.”
Flowers: Yes. I prepped five or six wigs, and she only wore three in the first one, so we do have some for the second one, and I will prep more. I think everyone was afraid; they didn’t want people to be taken out of the movie with it being too over-the-top or too colorful, so that’s why I chose a pastel palette to start her off with in the movie. When you see her in the Capitol, it gets brighter and she gets a little more extreme.
MTV: The hairstyle that’s probably raised the most eyebrows is Woody Harrelson’s Haymitch look, which he fashioned after his brother. What did you think when he approached you with the concept?
Flowers: Well, he originally wanted it longer. He brought in a photo of his brother, and his brother looks just like him with the wig on. It was really what he wanted, and then, you know, I showed it to Gary, and he looked at it. He goes, “You know, I think that would be a good look for him, we just need to make it a little shorter.” It looks like the period. The District 12 people kind of have a ’30s-period haircut because they’re very poor and they work in the mines. It kinda looked like that but really grown out.
The thing, too, when you’re trying to give a character a kind of character look — someone that has hair like he does — you can make it a little dirty and a little disheveled and make it look like you haven’t shampooed it recently, and it gives his character a little bit of a push. When you have no hair, you can’t really give that push. You can’t really see a passage of time; he’s normal, then he’s drunk and he woke up, and he’s hungover. You can articulate that and express that through the hair. With no hair, you really can’t express that. It really helped me help him with his character.
MTV: I can only imagine what some random warehouse in North Carolina must look like with hundreds of wigs lying around.
Flowers: You gotta remember, we used over 500 wigs in this movie. There is a warehouse full of trunks with wigs and stuff like that. I keep the cast wigs in a more secure — I don’t keep them in a warehouse. They’re actually in a very secure place that Lionsgate has.
Check out everything we’ve got on “The Hunger Games.”
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