Benedict Cumberbatch's Friends Were Horrified By His 'No-Hawk' Hair In Brexit

Benedict Cumberbatch as Dominic Cummings in Brexit on HBO

Doctor Strange's hairline reaches its own endgame in the new HBO movie Brexit: The Uncivil War. Benedict Cumberbatch plays Dominic Cummings in the drama based on the real-life strategist who led the Vote Leave campaign for the U.K. to leave the European Union. But enough of that serious stuff. His hair! That simple change to his hairline shocked his friends and family:

If you want to go about your daily life and not be recognized, I thoroughly recommend having a "no-hawk," which is what I had and the opposite of a mohawk. You gasped. I had to wear a hat for the duration of the film, which was literally glued to my head when I wasn't on set. I've got this amazing photograph album, where I'd take the hat off and I'd take a photograph of friends and family who I saw over that time, including on my birthday, and it was just a wonderful picture of shock, dismay, horror and confusion. It's the most wonderful array of human reactions. It's great.

A no-hawk actually makes it sound pretty cool, rather than just saying a receding hairline. Not that there's anything wrong with a receding hairline. The "gasped" part was the surprised reaction Collider shared when they first saw Benedict Cumberbatch's character onscreen. Just a small change can make for a serious transformation. (Hear that, Christian Bale and Daniel Day-Lewis? You don't have to lose or gain 100 pounds and go Method.)

Benedict Cumberbatch is no stranger to hair transformations. He first shot to worldwide fame with his dark Sherlock mane. That was a completely different look than his white hair for Julian Assange in The Fifth Estate. And that was completely different from Alan Turing in The Imitation Game. Which was completely different from his unique look (and American accent) as Dr. Stephen Strange in Marvel's Doctor Strange.

Hair is just one part of any character, but it can certainly affect your work. (Just ask Sophie Turner on Game of Thrones.) Benedict Cumberbatch told Collider he was thrilled with the result of his Brexit transformation, which was a choice on his part as opposed to something he was asked to do.

I needed to have a good wig on top, to mark out where the hair was being scraped over and where it was going. Once I had done that and the contact lenses, I was happy. I was looking a lit bit more like someone who looks remarkably different to me, even though he's not that well known to the public. People said, "We've cast you, we haven't cast him. It's fine. You don't have to look like him." And I said, "I think being me, I do have to. I want to step into this person's skin. I want to feel and look like him. I want to think like him and move like him, and this is part of it. So, I'm gonna do this."

Good for him. Benedict Cumberbatch is a busy guy. He's fresh off the TV series Patrick Melrose for Showtime, and the very successful Christmas movie The Grinch. He'll also somehow be bringing Dr. Strange back for Avengers: Endgame in April; his character dropped that "endgame" line in Avengers: Infinity War, so now he has to explain it. And the actor will probably be stuck chaperoning Tom Holland on the press circuit again. And then he has Doctor Strange 2.

You can watch Brexit now on HBO, as one of the many things available for viewing in midseason 2019.

Gina Carbone

Gina grew up in Massachusetts and California in her own version of The Parent Trap. She went to three different middle schools, four high schools, and three universities -- including half a year in Perth, Western Australia. She currently lives in a small town in Maine, the kind Stephen King regularly sets terrible things in, so this may be the last you hear from her.