While distracted by the flashy special effects and big budgets that come with being a blockbuster star, it's easy to forget that the Star Trek and Wonder Woman star is a seriously great actor. What makes him one of the best? His willingness to cover his face and head with questionably styled hair, that's what.
That's right -- Chris Pine will grow unattractive things on his head to distract you from his handsome face in the name of ART. Facial hair, beard extensions, pompadours -- which are more absurd than ugly, to be clear -- Pine has had them all on his dashing face and head, allowing him to disappear into a variety of pretty unsavory roles. Maybe he needed an assist from fake hair a few times, but you can take your prosthetics and shove 'em, because Chris Pine will (usually) grow his own damn hair!
Hell or High Water
The Look: Lip caterpillar
In Pine's latest, Hell or High Water, he plays one half of a duo of bank-robbing brothers while sporting this porny-looking moustache. Seeing him with facial hair isn't exactly unusual; Pine often has some whiskers on his face (whiskers that are gracefully taking on a salt-and-pepper shade). But this thing is right outta Boogie Nights. Or Magnum P.I. Maybe it's because my dad has a moustache and I am free of daddy issues, but that is one gross mouth brow on an otherwise great face. I always wonder, when actors are asked to grow out their facial hair in a certain way, who makes this call? Is it the actor who is so desperate to escape looking at his own face while playing a different person? Is it the director who wants to more actively resent a handsome actor by directing him to make his face suffocate under a hairy moth larvae? Is it the costume designer who is merely screwing with the actor to see if he'll listen?
Then again, it's not all that unusual for a guy from Star Trek to do questionable -- or even evil -- things while sporting facial fuzz. Just ask Evil Spock.
Into the Woods
The Look: His Royal High-Hairness
"I was raised to be charming, not sincere." -- Every attractive guy you've allowed to ruin your life.
Cinderella's Prince was not meant to be anything but a cad, but like any leading man, he gave us enough of reasons to like him. Most of them had to do with how he looked (and sang) and little to do with his actions. But is he handsome and charming enough to be admired by an entire kingdom while having an unabashed interest in philandering... Yes! Pine helped make his princely pompadour as ridiculous as possible to fully play up the two-dimensional character he was going to embody. (See also: Chris Hemsworth in Ghostbusters.) While he's far from a villain, Cinderella's Prince is a great example of a facade that can turn the "dashing hero" trope on its poufy head. Because if Pine is going to play a shallow douchebag (with the voice and chest of an angel), he's going to take it to 11.
The Look: A Lesson in Settling
Man, oh, man. Pour one out for this wig, which was hopefully cremated and shot into space at the end of production. The movie's intentions were good: retell the true story of how a Napa Valley winery fought and won the "Judgement in Paris" to put California wines on the map in 1976, with Pine playing the son of the winery's owner who traveled to Paris with the winning Chardonnay. Unfortunately, you will need a few cases of vino (or just your own jug of Carlo Rossi) to blind yourself to this exquisitely low-quality wig that someone forced Pine to wear. It's one thing to celebrate the spirit of a low-budget indie film that scored the likes of Alan Rickman (and other genre favorites Eliza Dushku and Bill Pullman), but if we must insist on recreating the freewheeling, breezy, Napa Valley feeling, they should just issue free booze and place a bowl of pineapples in front of a fan. But hey, a pre-Star Trek Chris Pine still needs to eat, so maybe that means wearing a hat made of flattened tribbles.
The Look: That Trump-supporting cousin no one talks about anymore who might be from another planet
This was the second time Pine worked with Joe Carnahan and when they get together, magic happens. In Stretch, the established Hollywood leading man plays the eccentric foil to Patrick Wilson's narrating limo driver protagonist -- and boy, is he one walking heap of funk. Swathed in a long, frizzy beard and hair extensions, Pine is introduced nearly naked except for this ratty follicle quilt which may or may not be housing a family of sparrows. He spends the whole movie getting weirder and weirder, to the delight and joy of all of us, like a twisted Hunger Games reject. Stretch is actually a fantastically fun movie to watch, but what's even more surprising than watching Chris Pine sing in Into the Woods is watching him completely drop his movie star image in favor of making a very deranged character as crazy and entertaining to watch as possible.
But make no mistake -- if this guy crash landed on Themyscira, Wonder Woman would throw him back.
The Look: What happens the same year you make a movie with Lindsay Lohan
The first time Chris Pine worked with Joe Carnahan was this 2006 A-lister-filled action crime caper that featured everyone from Alicia Keys to Ben Affleck to Taraji P. Henson to Joel Edgerton. The same year he made the tween-friendly (and subtley witchcraft-themed) Just My Luck with then-tween-friendly Lindsay Lohan. Pine went from boyish, darling romantic lead to a white trash, funk-toothed, drug-addicted nutcase with a charmingly-placed tattoo of a pinup whose crotch opened up in his armpit. (Would I ever kid about that? I would never.) Why is this such a big deal? Because at this point in his career, Chris Pine was nobody. This was a time to tell the world "I may be cute, but I can also disgust you to your core." And if he's open to being gross, he's open to doing just about anything. But maybe it's just math: play X amount of weirdos + Y amount of time = play the man who would be able to defeat and/or lead them all, Captain James T. Kirk.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
The Look: Emo, Unshowered Grunge Rocker
Okay, so he's not exactly gross in this role as weird and mysterious Eric, a moody musician whom your mother warned you about, but you refused to believe her because even if he was a mess of a person, you could fix him. In other words, your brooding teenage fantasy, but even stupider. As Eric, Pine plays up the misunderstood (read: flaky) but dreamy-in-a-dirty-kind-of-way artist (he smells like patchouli and jaded apathy and struggle in spite of that apathy) who really doesn't offer much except for your own fanfiction fantasies. "Whatever you want, babe," he'd probably say. "Or just whatever." Eric's legend don't end as well as it would have in your diary, but it's another example of Pine taking his stud status and turning it on its head. He will play handsome dudes, but he's going to turn them into caricatures, like Cinderella's Prince. Anyone who has seen caricatures knows that they're about the most unflattering parts of a person, and Pine will slap on a floppy wig and hop to it, making his withdrawn sad-sack "genius artist" a mythologically dopey dude who sulks like a baby and sings on a rooftop (and meets a bloody fate).
The Look: Lifetime Network Drag
Pine actually looks great here, playing a flamboyant boyfriend before anyone knew who he was. Apparently, 2006 was the year that Chris Pine tried everything. He was a cutie-pie romantic lead, he was a filthy druggie criminal, and now he's a flamboyant boyfriend in a made-for-TV movie with Diane Keaton. This movie actually contains Pine's first "intimate" scene, which was with Tom Everett Scott, and features the future Steve Trevor in Liza Minelli-style drag in one scene. It's not unattractive, but it sure is SHINY. While Pine's character isn't quite on the level as Nathan Lane in The Birdcage, he certainly isn't hiding who he is or who he loves. Pine wouldn't hide this guy in a closet. Not even for the sake of trying to establish an image at what seems to be a very crucial time in his career.
Honorable Mention: Rise of the Guardians
The Look: Tragic anime boyfriend
Granted, Chris Pine did not actually have to dye his hair silver like some Williamsburg hipster to play Jack Frost in Rise of the Guardians. (Though he probably would have!) But to play the perfect tragic figure who helps celebrate the coldest season with the darkest nights, Pine was hidden away in a voiceover booth and let the animators take the reigns. He let his voice do the talking, and yes, that is a very redundant thing to say. What does it say about a megastar to give some of his time and talent (in exchange for a paycheck, to be sure) to play a character that would ultimately end up as Tumblr's favorite love interest for Elsa from Frozen? I think it says a lot. And Pine clearly likes how the whole voiceover gig works -- it just got him his first Emmy nomination for his work as Robo-Dino on Crackle's SuperMansion. That's right -- Captain James Tiberius Perfect Hair will do things that don't even involve his perfect hair.
So, what has all this hair talk taught us about Chris Pine? That he has no image. Maybe he does after appearing in big, tentpole blockbusters in Star Trek and now Wonder Woman and the DC universe, but now, it's easy to see why Pine hasn't jumped wholeheartedly into that tempting Hollywood pool. He doesn't want to be seen one certain way -- he wants to be seen in every way he possibly can. I'm sure he's enjoying his Star Trek money very much, but if that's what allows him to make something like Hell or High Water or Wet Hot once in a while, then that's cool. Let him play up that blue-eyed hunk gig so he can buy the time to grow some weird hair and disappear into something deeper and crazier.
I could so easily make a joke about looking forward to more moustache rides with Chris Pine, but I'll abstain.