When HBO released The Undoing in October 2020, it quickly became a phenomenon for drama-starved viewers who had spent the past seven months quarantining at home. Fans were fully immersed in the crime, the mystery, the complicated husband-and-wife dynamics between Nicole Kidman, who played Grace Fraser, and Hugh Grant as Jonathan Fraser—it was all enough to set the Internet alight, and it did. But there was one detail from the limited series that became a central talking point, especially in the darkest corners of TV Twitter: were Grace Fraser’s fire engine-red locks real? Was Nicole Kidman wearing a wig?
The Undoing was certainly not the first time the actor wore an over-the-top wig, nor will it be the last. But it got me thinking about Kidman’s robust history of wigs throughout her film and television career—especially since her latest project, playing the enigmatic head of a mysterious wellness center called Tranquillum House in the Hulu series Nine Perfect Strangers (available on the streamer today) features Kidman in a bright white wig with locks that flow all the way down her back. Here, a look back at Kidman’s best wigs (and the ones that leave room for improvement) over the course of her nearly 40-year career in Hollywood. Although they weren’t always a hair home run, they are iconic nonetheless.
Big Little Lies, 2017-2019
Kidman’s Big Little Lies character exudes elegance and motherly love, and it doesn’t stop at her hairdo. Throughout the celebrated HBO series, Celeste rocks a mom bang and soft layers and waves.
Boy Erased, 2018
While we’re on the topic of moms, let’s dive into Kidman’s role in Boy Erased, which follows Lucas Hedges as Jared Eamons, the son of a Southern Baptist pastor who is outed by his parents and forced into conversion therapy. Nothing says “small-town conservative” better than a lace blouse, string of pearls, and thinning blonde hair that’s been teased to high heaven.
All of the hair and makeup feats to turn Charlize Theron and Nicole Kidman into Fox News’ top news anchors were stellar—Theron became Megyn Kelly through delicately done prosthetics and Kidman transformed into Gretchen Carlson, with help from a voluminous blonde wig filled with hairspray.
The Hours, 2002
Speaking of a transformation, Kidman’s turn at playing Virginia Woolf was impactful enough to win her the Best Actress Oscar in 2003. One thing we won’t be quick to forget was her iconic, wiry wig—pulled back into a loose bun or peeking out from underneath a hat.
Moulin Rouge, 2001
Whether or not Kidman as Satine in Moulin Rouge is wearing a wig is up for debate—the reddish waves could very well be her natural hair, amped up with some extensions. But if it is a piece, it’s a nice one.
The Undoing, 2020
There were Grace Fraser’s coats—beautiful coats—and then there were her perfectly manicured, unmistakable curls.
This is, hands down, our favorite Nicole Kidman wig look. Next to Rihanna’s iconic pink pixie, it’s a short crop done right—and a perfectly fitted wig, to boot.
How to Talk to Girls at Parties, 2018
A24’s science fiction rom-com was directed by John Cameron Mitchell, the same mind that created Hedwig and the Angry Inch, so it’s understandable that the content of the film was, in a word, fantastical. Kidman plays Queen Boadicea, an old-school punk who manages a local hangout in London, and her wig mirrored the movie’s theme of the otherworldly. But man, they really did her dirty with this one.
As the well-meaning adoptive mother of Dev Patel’s character, Saroo, Nicole Kidman plays a sweet motherly type. During the flashback scenes, she dons this curly look tinged orange. Her wig for this role was, as one Twitter user recently put it, “giving Carrot Top.”
Kidman’s wig in Destroyer was clearly meant to mirror the grit of this crime thriller’s subject matter. She plays a former undercover officer of the Los Angeles Police Department named Erin, who’s seeking revenge against members of a gang. She gets into hostile fights, abduction scenarios, and encounters robberies in the process. We understand why the stress might make Erin turn gray.