Redheads on screen


My response to Guardian film blog post, Who are cinema’s best redheads?

Although I am also a big fan of Molly Ringwald, as my ‘80s post has demonstrated, I cannot help but feel that there are several other deserving actors and actresses who should be entered into the redhead hall of fame. So, as invited, here’s my contribution to what is unlikely to prove an exhaustive list.

Rupert Grint

I cannot believe one of Britain’s own redheaded stars was omitted from the list, especially as his most famous role is as a member of literature’s most celebrated ginger family. I am of course referring to the Weasleys of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Although Rupert Grint is largely admired for his work in the film adaptations of Rowling’s books, he also gave a memorable performance in 2006’s Driving Lessons, also alongside Julie Walters (who played Mrs Weasley). Grint plays Ben, an awkward and bumbling teenage boy who, somewhat oddly, finds happiness when working for a disagreeable old lady (Walters).

While Grint’s recent projects, Cherrybomb (2009) and Wild Target (2010) bombed and missed their targets (I couldn’t resist), his large number of upcoming features suggest he is a redhead refusing to let his fire burn out.

Emma Stone

If Johnny Depp can make the list, Emma Stone certainly can. Despite naturally having blonde hair, Emma Stone continually finds herself cast as a redhead since her 2007 appearance in Superbad.

Alongside Jonah Hill in Superbad.

It may be difficult to imagine the charismatic flame-headed Olive Penderghast of Will Gluck’s Easy A with any other hair colour, but Stone’s success in The Help proves that her acting skills can trump her hair colour when it comes to snagging roles. Interestingly, Stone’s latest performance, as Gwen Stacy in The Amazing Spiderman, saw her claim a part formerly played by The Help co-star and real life redhead Bryce Dallas Howard.

Amy Adams

Of all the redheaded actresses currently working in Hollywood I believe Amy Adams can be praised for making some of the best choices in terms of the roles she takes. I’ve yet to see her give a bad performance or star in even a mediocre film.

Instead she plays well-written and varied characters, appearing as an innocent and naive nun in Doubt, and portraying a blogger in Nora Ephron’s Julie & Julia, a smart amalgamation of two true stories.

Amy Adams’ turn in the darkly comic independent film Sunshine Cleaning also sees her star alongside fellow redhead Emily Blunt. The two redheads play hapless sisters who start up a crime-scene clean-up team as part of a get-rich-quick scheme. This allows for gross-out comedy and several opportunities for the protagonists to display the stereotypical redhead characteristic of sudden anger, as part of a family drama.

Julianne Moore

US actress Julianne Moore is so proud of her red hair that in numerous films she has also flashed pubic hair. (Seth Rogen’s character in Knocked Up describes ‘bush, no boobs’ as a ‘Julianne Moore special’).

Wisecracks aside, Moore is a very talented actress, as her trophy hoard and countless award nominations demonstrate.

As well as flaunting her flaming locks, Moore recently played a lesbian mother in The Kids are All Right, a part of society definitely under-represented in mainstream cinema.

Coincidentally, Moore also played the mother of Emma Stone in 2011’s Crazy Stupid Love.

Annette Bening and Julianne Moore both received BAFTA nominations for their roles in The Kids are All Right.

Simon Pegg

Lest this list become too female-centric (ironic in an attempt to glorify overlooked gingers), Simon Pegg gains his place. Although Pegg cannot boast of as many awards as Julianne Moore, there is no denying that his presence is truly appreciated in British comedy.

Alongside Nick Frost, Pegg creates comedic situations which are humorous as well as realistically and quintessentially British. This is aided by the use of mundane settings such as pubs (Shaun of the Dead) and supermarkets (Hot Fuzz) as platforms for staging outlandish scenarios.

Pegg’s skill as both a screenwriter and a comedic actor makes him one of the British film industry’s most talented redheads.

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