You talk a big game about your love of long-haired stars — your Johnny Depps, your Viggo Mortensens, your Hugh Jackmans — but there's something about a bare head that adds to the menace and allure of our favorite action stars.
Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises" is definitely one of the baddest baldies we've ever seen. Seeing all of the havoc he will wreak on Gotham in the upcoming movie encouraged us to dig deeper. Below, check out 14 guys — and one girl — whose naked scalps have scared and intimidated us for years.
No one has tied his name more to a particular type of movie more than Jason Statham, to the point where all you have to say is, "It's a Jason Statham movie" and everyone knows exactly what you're talking about. Sometimes you're in the mood for Kurosawa. Other times, you want to see a man ram a shotgun up someone's ass. Everyone has their place.
Tom Hardy usually sports a full head of hair, but for his most terrifying role yet, as Batman baddie Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises," Hardy is hairless with only the most sinister-looking headgear covering his head. His lack of a 'do in the movie helps transform the suave British actor into a cold-hearted, maniacal villain ready to take down Gotham and Batman in the process. The deep inhuman unintelligble voice doesn't hurt either.
The former club bouncer has made more than 20 films, most involving the recital of pithy James Bond-esque catchphrases followed by some sort of beatdown via weapon or fist. As both a bouncer and action star, the bald head is essential to your image, especially if you're not exactly a thespian when it comes to acting.
We'll admit playing the title character in the romantic musical "The King and I" is not exactly the stuff of renegades, but Yul Brynner redeemed himself with Michael Crichton's 1973 dystopian western "Westworld." Although Brynner covered up his most powerful feature – his glistening head – with a cowboy hat, it couldn't stop his character -- a robot at an amusement park -- from turning on its creators and going apes**t. Sweet.
Michael Clarke Duncan
At 6'5'' and the size of a tank, Michael Clarke Duncan doesn't need a lot more to be one of the most intimidating actors around. But the shaved head doubtlessly added to the mystique and appearance of convicted rapist and murderer John Coffey in "The Green Mile." Duncan snagged an Oscar nom for that role. The head didn't hurt his chances.
That is all.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Sure, there's the unforgivable "Tooth Fairy" and "The Game Plan," but any bald former college football player-turned-professional wrestler-turned-action hero deserves a spot on the list. Judging by his increasingly receding hairline, we're guessing the baldness was more a function of necessity than style, but as long as Johnson has one raised eyebrow, he'll be fine.
Few actors can simultaneously pull off evil and affable as Sir Ben Kingsley. Whether it's portraying a beloved international figure ("Gandhi") or a ruthless gangster ("Bugsy"), Kingsley's head emits an authoritative glow and aura that says, "Hey man. It's cool. You can trust me. I'm here to help." Even if he turns out to be full of s**t like in "Sexy Beast."
Samuel L. Jackson
Our favorite overly emotive actor doesn't need to be bald to revel in the histrionics that have made him both an acting icon and target of countless parodies. Still, we can't picture Neville Flynn in "Snakes on a Plane," Nick Fury in "Iron Man "or any of the three upcoming Marvel films as anything less than hairless.
He's not as strong as Michael Clarke Duncan. Not as evil as Ben Kingsley. And not as cool as Samuel L. Jackson. But the Nirvana of actors — each scene starting off in hushed tones and eerily building up to a bellowing roar — has created so many indelible characters, you can't front on a man who inspired a movie that took place inside his own brain.
She only went bald for one role – Evey Hammond in the film adaptation of Alan Moore's dystopian epic "V For Vendetta" – but if you can look just as good bald as with flowing tresses, you've made our Eternal Hotness list. Having a shaved head is an important function of the film, and as the only female on this list, seeing a bald Portman run at you, gun in hand, simultaneously scares and endears us.
How manly is Ving Rhames? Go back to "Pulp Fiction," where dude is violated against his will and immediately comes back for revenge. Seriously, Maynard and Zed. Why would you provoke this guy of all people? Did you really think that would end well? Rhames would go on to play similar menacing figures in "Con Air," "Bringing Out the Dead" and the "Mission: Impossible" series.
Like his countryman Ben Kingsley, Sir Patrick Stewart's voice can emote a more diverse range of expressions than most people's faces. But as Jean-Luc Picard in "Star Trek: The Next Generation," Charles Xavier in the "X-Men" franchise and numerous Shakespearean productions, Stewart's head gives each role an added gravitas that his more hirsute peers can only attempt to emulate.
Everyone knows Troyer as Mini-Me in the "Austin Powers" franchise, but the 2'8'' actor makes this list more for his stunt work, doubling for a 9-month-old in "Baby's Day Out" and hurling 32 inches of badassness in classics such as "Dunston Checks In" and "Jingle All the Way." And there's a confirmed sex tape floating around the Net. Have fun getting that image out of your head.
Our most outwardly surly member has only been permanently bald for a few years, but in some of his most memorable roles, Willis' shiny head has augmented his insanity (James Cole in "12 Monkeys") and viciousness (Butch Coolidge in "Pulp Fiction"). Now that his hair choice seems to be out of his hands, look for the grumpy visage to only intensify.
(Originally published on April 28, 2011)