Jena Malone didn’t have an extraordinary amount of screen time in “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay — Part 2” as the feisty Johanna Mason, but suffice to say whenever she did appear, she was completely magnetic.
Most of that can be chalked up to Johanna’s brazen attitude and fearlessness — and her ability to somehow be both vicious and vulnerable at the same time — but it also has to do with her hair. Or, more accurately, her lack of hair.
When we first see Johanna in the new film, it’s painstakingly clear that her character has been through hell: she’s shockingly thin, pale, bruised and bald, a consequence of her imprisonment in the Capitol.
In a new interview with Vulture, Malone explained that, to assume Johanna’s mindset post-torture, director Francis Lawrence insisted she meet with a specialist to learn more about posttraumatic stress disorder.
“Learning what really happens to people when they go through a traumatic life-or-death situation just kind of blew my mind,” Malone said. “How it changes the body. How it changes your personality. How it changes your reaction time to things. That's where I started. I read a few books about these soldiers in war and combat coming home, and the anger and dissociation between real life and what is their life.”
Malone added that she also did her own research into how Johanna’s experiences would affect her physically.
“With Johanna's post-torture behavior, I did look up different things — torture techniques, and starvation, and what jaundice does. And morphine addiction,” Malone said., adding that she ultimately wanted to show Johanna in “really raw” state.
Part of that rawness was showing Johanna without her hair, though Malone explained she didn’t shave her head because her scenes were filmed out of sequence over the course of 10 months. Instead, her character’s baldness was achieved through CGI, a bald cap and a bald body double — though she says she totally would’ve been on board to do it herself, had the timing worked out.
“I've shaved my head for roles before! And I was ready to do that!” she said. “I’ve shaved my head twice now, and I love it. […] Every woman should shave her head at least once. It's an important thing to see what your head feels like, what your senses feel like, and also what you feel like as a woman, when you're stripped from these very identifiable things, you know? So you can figure out what is really feminine inside.”
Hmm… new style inspiration perhaps?!