Serial-killing Svengali Joe Carroll will have a new ally when Fox's ''The Following'' returns for season 2 on Jan. 19: namely, a thick, identity-concealing beard (yep, the Edgar Allan Poe-loving professor is back, and more bristly than ever); EW talked with actor James Purefoy about his hair-raising transformation
Do you have ”beard growing” listed as a skill on your résumé? Because you should!
It certainly is a lustrous beard. I was going for Duck Dynasty, but they wouldn’t let me go that far.
Whose idea was the beard?
I had been growing a beard for another job I did on the hiatus…. [Creator Kevin Williamson] saw the pictures of it and he liked it, and we needed to do a certain manner of disguise work for the early episodes.
So the facial hair is a cover-up, not a by-product of Joe being on the run and forgetting his razor?
[Laughs] It’s very hard talking about The Following this season, especially the early episodes, because we don’t want to give anything away. But yes, suffice it to say we do know that Joe is back for the new season. But in what form?
Tell me about your grooming regimen. Any special lotions or balms?
No, but the beard does like a conditioner, and it does like to be brushed. It was quite wild. It did have sort of a life of its own. It [had] to be trimmed every now and then, obviously, for continuity.
You’re clean-shaven now, but did you relish the seven months you had the beard?
Nobody recognized me at all. I looked like a homeless person — and in fact a homeless person went to ask me for money at one point. He put [out] his hand….And when he took a good look at me, he thought I was one of them. He didn’t bother asking at all.
What’s next for the beard?
[It] is in a box in the makeup trailer as we speak, and we’re thinking of eBay-ing it for charity.
Purefoy’s beard earned him the nickname Mr. Hairface from The Following executive producer Marcos Siega, who also started the Twitter account @MisterHairface.