'Game of Thrones': Hair Secrets!
When there is a decapitation, does the hair department style the severed head?
Yes! ''You get so engrossed in it, looking at this head, and you're looking at a person you know,'' says show's hair designer Kevin Alexander, who often styles the prop head with the wig worn by the actor's double. ''How involved we get with it depends on how close the camera is going to get and what they're going to do with it. 'Is it going to roll across the floor?' It's good fun.''
How many hairstylists work on the epic battle scenes?
As many as 25 hairstylists coif the principal actors and extras, depending on the size of a fight scene (scenes that involve a large number of female characters with elaborate hairdos also require more hands on deck). ''If they're all helmeted, then there's very little that we can do. But if 50 percent of those helmets come off as a shot goes over them, we're in there dirtying down and bloodying in,'' Alexander says. How does the team achieve the grunge look? ''We use three or four different products for grease, then we add the 'dirt' using powder puffs filled with different colors from a makeup shop.''
Whose wig takes the longest to style?
Daenerys' (Emilia Clarke). ''Emilia has really dark, almost black hair. We have to tightly [braid] her hair first. Then we have to put a bald cap on and smooth out all the edges. Then we have to put a skin tone over that, and then put the white wig over the top,'' Alexander explains. ''It takes up to two hours.'' Two wigs are used for Clarke's character — one when her hair is dirty and disheveled, another when it's clean and styled.
How do you keep the actors entertained on the ''hair bus''?
''Everyone brings in music they want to hear. They might come in early and we'll start mellow, something like Elbow. Then we'll generally go into dance to bring everybody up for the morning,'' Alexander says. When in doubt, the go-to tunes are totally '80s. ''Classic Madonna gets us all going,'' he says. ''The makeup bus is very different from the hair bus, they start off the morning with classical,'' he adds. ''That doesn't exist on our bus.''
How do I get Jon Snow's sexy, just-rolled-out-of-the-cot look?
Over the course of the series, Jon Snow's (Kit Harington) naturally wavy hair has become less tame. ''The more wild it gets, the more handsome he looks,'' says Alexander, who puts a lot of effort into creating the unkempt style. ''We rarely use one single hair product on one person. It takes a combination of two or three.''
Whose hairstyle looks deceptively simple?
Michelle Fairley, who dyes her hair to play the role of Catelyn Stark, spends plenty of time in the hair bus. ''It just looks like her long hair with a [braid], but it takes over an hour,'' Alexander says. ''We stitch in a piece that takes the length almost down to the small of her back, she goes off and has her makeup done, then she comes back and we dress the [braid] in. For something that looks simple, there's quite a lot of work in there.''
How do you get a crown to stay put?
''Depending on how much movement an actor is doing in a scene, crowns can be very easy or an absolute nightmare,'' Alexander says. ''We use little dental bands to make tiny little ponytails, then we sew around the crown into the little ponytails with invisible thread.''
Who has the most expensive wig?
The wigs worn by Emilia Clarke (Daenerys) and Lena Headey (Cersei) cost around £4,500 ($7,000) each. All of the wigs used on the series are made from human hair. ''You would never get the movement otherwise,'' Alexander explains. In their downtime, each hairpiece rests on its own 'wig head,' a block made to match the shape and size of the actor's noggin.
Whose hair requires the most maintenance?
''Sophie Turner (who plays Sensa Stark) is naturally a baby blonde. When she first came on she was only 13 or 14, so instead of using peroxide or permanent color, we made a concoction of watercolors,'' says Alexander. ''We use three or four different colors to make that red. It has to be redone every 7 to 10 days because it washes out.''
How do actresses really react to short cuts?
Maisie Williams wore a wig when her character (Arya Stark) got a haircut to look like a boy at the end of season 1, but had her real hair chopped off before filming began on season 2. ''We picked a style that we could make grungy and dirty for the show, but that she could also look pretty cool in as herself. That was quite a process,'' Alexander says. Gwendoline Christie, who plays androgynous Brienne, had never had a short 'do before cropping her tresses for the series. ''She had hair to her breastplate, and I had to cut it right off. It freaked her out, but she loves it now.''