Well there have definitely been harder Best of lists to compose. After extensive google and wiki searches, sadly these were the only white actors, not including females, I could find worth mentioning that have sported either cornrows or dreadlocks for a role. Not surprisingly, the sporting of such a hairstyle seems to bring out performances that are a bit over-the-top. Could you blame them?
4. Edward Norton in Stone
Weave some rows on the head of a smart and talented actor and you’re sure to get a smart and layered performance, one I might add that even out acts his co-star Mr. DeNiro. Unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on your point of view, once Norton’s eponymously named Stone discovers spirituality he also discovers a hairbrush and with that comes a more natural hairstyle as well as a more subdued character.
3. Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean
Of all the characters on this list, Depp’s hair seems to match his character’s personality the best. As if the crazy eyes, drunken swagger, and raggedy garb weren’t enough of an excuse for Depp to wildly emote for hours on end, add to that a disheveled crows nest that looks like it was styled by a barber as drunk as Captain Jack himself and voilà, the most iconic fictional pirate since Captain Hook is born.
2. James Franco in Spring Breakers
Now here’s an actor who, as if the cornrows weren’t enough, gets to sport a shiny gold grill too. No doubt, Franco was having a ball with this role. Clearly Harmony Korine (director) knew the comedy that would come gushing forth the second Franco was set free of any scripted dialogue. I imagine Korine’s direction going a little something like this, “Okay, James, your character’s name is Alien and you’re a drug dealing, gun toting, Scarface on repeat watching, Brittany Spears loving, gangster rapper. Got it? Good. Now, action!”
1. Gary Oldman in True Romance
It’s not even close. By far, this is the best performance by a white actor sporting locks or rows.
There are numerous memorable cinematic portrayals of pimps, and then there’s Drexl Spivey! This slick talking, dread lock wearing, self-identifying black man – who to this day holds the title for best line readings of a Quentin Tarantino written character – not only manages to get under the skin of his main adversary played by Christian Slater, but also manages to deliver the best monologue in the entire movie, which is no easy task considering both Christopher Walken and Dennis Hopper have memorable monologues of their own in the film.
The fact is there are only a handful of great actors out there who are able to so deeply immerse themselves into a particular role that even their greatest of admirers would struggle to identify them. Gary Oldman just happens to be one of these actors. Even after his name appears on the opening credits, assuring me that he is indeed in this film, I still wasn’t sure which character Oldman was playing. My double-take didn’t occur until the cast credits at the end of the film when Oldman’s name was next to Drexl’s.
Nicky Katt in The Limey (Click here for picture)
Jared Leno in Panic Room (Click here for picture)