The new Melissa McCarthy/Paul Feig action comedy Spy is officially here, and I am officially freaking out about how brilliant it is. While Melissa McCarthy is slated as the star, after seeing the movie, I can verify that McCarthy definitely shares top billing with an unexpected presence: aka, Rose Byrne's gigantic Spy hair. Byrne — best known for her roles in Bridesmaids and the Insidious movies — whips up yet another brilliant comedic performance in Spy as the uptight, murderous arms dealer Rayna Boyanov, but her performance was aided by some amazing style choices (particularly in the hair department). But, was Byrne's Spy hair real?
Unsurprisingly, the hair is unfortunately an addition — though, no one should be faulted for wondering if it is real, because if anyone is capable of growing out such a glorious mane of hair, it's Byrne. However, that's not all there is to the story behind the hair: A stylistic addition to Rayna's character, the hair seems to have been the brain child of McCarthy, Feig, and Byrne, and, according to USA Today, it was an idea all three stars had to fight to keep it in the movie.
"They were not convinced at all that it was going to work. I had a really specific concept of this woman in my head," Byrne said. "She's that Eastern European-mixed-with-royalty sort of thing. So it's a bit like Marie Antoinette meets Olga or something. I wanted to really tap into that." In a separate interview, she added, "It’s part Marie Antoinette, part Eastern European, part Kardashian."
I kept saying Rayna — Rose’s character — should have really big, blown-out hair...she’s got this elaborate Marie Antoinette–meets–Donald Trump kind of hair. It was the most complicated hairstyle I’ve ever seen in my life. And I went, 'Oh, that’s not at all what I thought we were going to do,' but then I saw [Rose] and she looked so in the moment. I can always see when my actors find their characters from an outer thing.
And tap into that they did. Rayna is the perfect mix of tacky European wealth and Bulgarian aristocracy, and the hair accentuates those character choices perfectly. It works mainly because the movie doesn't try to ignore how ridiculous it looks: Melissa McCarthy riffs on it a lot throughout the movie, and never misses a beat.
While they got the laughs they were aiming for, working with the hair was a bit of a struggle. It was indeed a wig, and, apparently, Byrne had to be in hair and makeup for an hour and a half just to get the thing firmly attached to her head; within a few hours it would morph into a series of new weird shapes. "It was moving a lot. It would sort of start at one spot and by the end of the day, it had gone back there or over here," Byrne continued, speaking to USA Today.
The entire movie was a fantastic action romp, and the cast was wonderful. That hair, though, is probably going to be the one who wins a Golden Globe. I'm not the only one who agrees that the hair was its own star, either. In the same interview, Byrne added, "She needs her own (screen) credit, that hair."
Image: 20th Century Fox