When the first trailer for Duncan Jones’s new sci-fi film Mute dropped on Tuesday, a few very important questions came to mind. Between this and Altered Carbon, is Netflix cornering the market for Blade Runner pastiches? What does it mean that Mute exists in the same cinematic universe as Jones’s 2009 film, Moon? How big of a cameo will Moon star Sam Rockwell have? But the most important question of all was: Is this the best Justin Theroux wig to date?
I’ll confess: For the 30 minutes of my life that followed my first viewing of this trailer, I was convinced I had just seen a preview of a movie starring Sharlto Copley.
If you’ve been following Theroux’s career or the Twitter account Justin Theroux Daily (is this my burner account? I plead the Fifth) as closely as I have, you’ll know that he is not only a versatile performer but also a versatile wig model. Theroux’s just as comfortable donning a colonial wig in a historical miniseries as he is wearing dreads as a conceptually offensive DJ in a Ben Stiller comedy — heck, sometimes he delivers award-worthy performances with his own hair, like in HBO’s The Leftovers. My guy delivers Theroux thick and thin … hair. (I refuse to apologize for this pun.)
Including this blond lettuce in Mute, there have been a total of nine wigs in the Theroux-verse so far. While I’m a fan of all of them, some stand out more than others. Here’s how they rank. (A note: Justin Theroux’s character from Star Wars: The Last Jedi was not considered in this ranking, because I cannot tell whether in that film: (a) it is his real hair, (b) he is wearing a wig, (c) he is wearing a toupee, (d) there are some practical effects at work, or (e) CGI was involved.)
9. The Revolutionary Curls in John Adams
While playing John Hancock in the HBO miniseries about the other famous founding father named John, Theroux sported a conventional colonial wig. And that’s the thing: It’s a good look for the time period, but it’s too conventional to stand out from his body of wig-work.
This is the vanilla ice cream of Theroux wigs: dependable, but boring. An easy choice for last place.
8. The Questionable Toupee in Jimmy Kimmel’s UConn Mac and Cheese Kid Skit
Before Jimmy Kimmel became the people’s champion for affordable health care, he loved parodying — and occasionally orchestrating — viral videos. Such was the case in 2015, when a student at UConn went on a drunken tirade to a cafeteria worker about wanting jalapeno mac and cheese, which was unavailable. (The kid was reportedly arrested; it was pretty nuts.)
Kimmel reimagined the incident with Theroux as the unruly student, and it’s bizarrely funny on an aesthetic level. It’s not unlike Michael Showalter pretending to be a teen in the Wet Hot American Summer sequel series. However, this falls in the wig rankings only on the basis that, unlike the rest of this ranking, the wig’s not from one of Theroux’s films. While movie stars continue to bolt to the small screen without reproach, small-screen wigs are still judged as lesser. Yes, it’s unfair, but I don’t make up the rules.
7. The Haunting Mohawk in Broken English
It’s all right to take a moment to collect yourself, especially if you haven’t seen this image before. Broken English was a 2007 indie — starring Parker Posey, naturally — that made less than $2 million at the box office. Honestly, if they had marketed Theroux’s mohawk, perhaps it’d have made more money.
I’ve never seen Broken English; all I know is that Theroux plays a man named Nick Gable and looks like the kind of dude who DVRs all of Conor McGregor’s press conferences. This is an iconic Theroux wig. The problem is, there is some debate over whether this is actually a wig. He definitely shaved his head — check him out at the Broken English premiere — but is the mohawk his own doing? I’m definitely learning toward mohawk wig — two amazing words to pair next to each other — but since I’m not 100 percent sure, this lands at no. 7.
6. The Parliamentary Return of Evil DJ in Zoolander 2
This is incredible and somewhat mesmerizing. It’s what you’d imagine Theroux’s John Hancock would look like if he went through some type of 17th-century emo pirate phase. I’ve been staring at this image for 10 minutes.
It just doesn’t rank higher because Evil DJ was already introduced in the first Zoolander, and because the sequel is pretty bad. I know the wigs have nothing to do with Zoolander 2’s 23 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, but as we all know, society has been unfairly blaming wigs for stuff for centuries.
5. Our Luscious Lord and Savior in The Ten
Theroux looks a bit Jesus-like, no? That’s because in The Ten, he is Jesus. Specifically, he’s a version of Jesus who’s chilling in Mexico and having a spicy romance with a librarian, played by Gretchen Mol. Between this and The Leftovers, Theroux is really cornering Hollywood’s Messiah market.
Bonus: Justin Theroux’s Frozen Tips Phase
This isn’t wig-related. I just wanted to point out that Theroux had a very brief career turn where he dyed his hair blond. The late ’90s were awesome.
4. “Duck Teddington” in Mute
Mute isn’t out until February 23, but we know that Theroux looks like a Swedish dad going through a midlife crisis, that his character’s name is Duck Teddington, and that he’s best friends with Paul Rudd’s “Cactus” Bill. This wig is already a winner.
3. The Dreadlocks in Zoolander
Theroux’s Evil DJ in Zoolander was our introduction to the actor’s indomitable wig game — and it’s a doozy. You have the whole white-Rasta-guy look that’s totally ridiculous and somewhat offensive (that part hasn’t aged well). And then there’s the breakdance fight between Evil DJ and Owen Wilson’s Hansel McDonald, which might be the single best part of the Zoolander franchise.
If Hollywood ever makes a Rob Zombie biopic, it should look Theroux’s way.
2. The Discount Saruman in Your Highness
This might come as a surprise, but the stoner-fantasy-comedy written by Danny McBride, where Justin Theroux’s evil sorcerer Leezar snorts fairy dust like cocaine, is a very bad movie. But even in a bad movie, there is a bright spot: a hall of fame Theroux wig.
Here, Theroux gets a mop of long, grayish hair that flows beyond his shoulders — on an aesthetic level, it’s comedy gold. If Theroux had even an iota of the comedic material that the Monty Python crew was given parodying medieval times, perhaps we’d have had another stoner classic on our hands.
1. The Mane of Marriage in Wanderlust
Why is this the best Justin Theroux wig? Not only is it the glorious, flowing locks of a quintessential hippie, but Theroux swooned current wife and then-costar Jennifer Aniston on the Wanderlust set. Like, he probably had this thing on his head the whole time — was this actually a follicular pheromone?
I’m not trying to say this beguiling head of hair is the only reason Aniston fell for Theroux — and no, stop mentioning the jogging pants from The Leftovers, I didn’t mean that either — but when you’re wearing a wig for months next to someone who ends up being your future wife, that’s impossible to top. This is the best Justin Theroux wig.