Prepare for a trickle-down outbreak of cinematic redheadedness--
your multiplex today,

October 2, 2001
Search for a cure on the message boards!
Prepare yourselves for a rash of redheads--a red, red rash--that has already begun and seems to have no end in sight! The ladies of the Digest staff, ever aware of potential trends coming down the pipeline, were first disturbed when they noticed two dramatic switches to red...then three...then four... Come on: Julia Roberts and Nicole Kidman play with fire all the time. But the following evidence proves, without a doubt, that there's some new contagion spreading through Hollywood.

So what's the big deal? Do we have a thing against redheads? Hell no--especially not real ones. The problem is when you have a massive, artificial Hollywood trend. Not only is dyeing hell on your hair, but red in particular is often a crutch lazy screenwriters (and even the actresses themselves!) use to convey character--even more blatantly than with brunette and blonde. (Real redheads in the house? We're counting on you to demand more realistic portrayals than "redheads are either bitchy or spunky, and often slutty.")

Some of the actresses pictured do, in fact, still look lovely even in the throes of contagion, much the way consumption was said to bring that feverish bloom to the Victorians' cheeks... As for the other, less fortunate redheads below, they are the real cause for alarm. Because we all know that what we see at the theater, we see two weeks later in the salon and thence on the street...and if it looks this bad on the screen, how horrifying will it be in front of you in the Quickie Mart line? An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure--SAVE YOURSELVES WHILE YOU STILL CAN!!!

Some pictures have bonus snarkitude; hold your cursor over the image to check.
Nicole Kidman: Moulin Rouge (June) and The Others (August).

As the pictures above show, Nicole--a brave, brave woman when it comes to her hair--has already recovered from her attack of Scarlet Fever earlier this summer. If anyone can pull red off, it's Nicole--thereby making her a danger and a contagion to all the women of America who spy a package of Clairol at the grocery store and actually believe that they will emerge from their bathroom, two henna-stained hours later, and look like the picture on the box. Moulin Rouge? Fool in Rouge, if you're not careful.

CHARACTER CODE: "wanton," "passionate but doomed"
Liv Tyler, One Night at McCool's (July) and Mena Suvari, American Pie 2 (August).

Also an early victim of the contagion, Mena Suvari has probably dyed her hair every color of the rainbow by now (American Beauty, blonde; Loser, brunette, just to name two). You can see the toll Scarlet Fever has taken upon young Mena simply by the malaise on her face in the American Pie still (far right); even though the fever will probably break, we still fear that, in her weakened state, Mena will sign on to yet another film with "American" in the title.

CHARACTER CODE: "Not to be confused with other movies I did that also had the word 'American' in the title"; "spunky"

Liv Tyler is one of the more violent examples of the plague going around. Do you remember One Night at McCool's? We didn't think so. Scarlet Fever claims another victim.

CHARACTER CODE: "devilish," "slutty"

Cate Blanchett: Bandits (October)

Her Cateness, one of the Digest's favorite actresses, has been forced to costar in a film with Bruce Willis and Billy Bob Thornton as two bank robbers, with whom--
both of whom--her character purportedly falls in love, as "together they make the perfect man." Did we mention that the neurotic Billy Bob character was given a fear of antique furniture... because Mr. Thornton is afraid of it himself?

CHARACTER CODE: "spunky," "insane"
Heather Graham: From Hell (October)

From Hell, the title of this historically-based (and also graphic-novel-based) take on Jack the Ripper, is also the approximate location of this hair color. Actually, it doesn't look that bad...and Cleolinda, a longtime true-crime fanatic, can vouch for the fact that a redheaded prostitute is a major plot point in the story. And both the real person and the Graham character were/are Irish. However...doesn't really help that red = wild thing stereotype, does it?

CHARACTER CODE: "slutty but doomed," "Irish"
Sarah Michelle Gellar: Scooby Doo (June)

By contrast, one of the more godforsaken cases of Scarlet Fever in the ward. The costume is spot-on...we hope the hair is a wig. Also, the idea of ANY of the animated Scooby Gang coming to ho-hum life is horrifying. (Especially considering that costar/boy toy Freddie Prinze Jr. seems to have been stricken with a terrible case of
Death Bleach. Friends, we may have to amputate...)

CHARACTER CODE: "spunky," "tired of vampire-slaying"
Cameron Diaz: Gangs of New York (December)

Oh.... Cameron... Honey. We will find whoever did this to you. We will make them pay.

CHARACTER CODE: "spunky," "Irish," "consolatory Oscar nomination"
Jennifer Love Hewitt: The Devil and Daniel Webster (No One Has a Clue in Hell When This Puppy Comes Out)

J-Love plays...well, The Devil in this remake of the play and 1941 film (Alec Baldwin also directs and stars). Of her acting method, J-Love said, "I have a lot to prepare for in taking this role. I'm going to look into a new part of myself for this role and prepare by stealing some souls and hearts." She also told Mr. Showbiz that she burst into tears at the prospect of having to go toe-to-toe with Sir Anthony Hopkins in a courtroom scene: "I told Anthony, 'I'm terrified of you. I'm going to suck really bad next to you!' and he said, 'You will be great! That's the thing about actors, you won't let me be bad and I won't let you be bad,' and he gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek."

When interviewed by Cinescape, Sir Tony replied, "She's very pretty, I know that."

CHARACTER CODE: "dramatic stretch, "devilish," "very pretty"
Kirsten Dunst: Spider-Man (May)

Certainly one of the more stylin' new redheads on our list, the still (right) from the highly anticipated Spider-Film finally explains the bizarro red bang Kirsten sported for a few months: She managed to ward off the Fever by donning a wig, escaping with only a severe crick of the neck (above, center).

CHARACTER CODE: "spunky,"  "ready for her blockbuster"
And finally...the most horrifying case of Scarlet Fever we have yet to come across. Dear readers, if you are viewing this page with small children in the room, we suggest you shoo them away before you proceed.

Okay. Now scroll down.
Features home
Movies Nobody Wants to See
The Cleo Awards
"Red? Why, that was the color of Tom's face when I got my Oscar nomination!"
"My God! Is that a home dye job?"
"Yeah, I can't believe I got the Arwen role after this one, either."
The latter stages of Scarlet Fever: Dementia.
"Boys! Boys! There's enough Cateness here for everyone!"
"No, you don't get any free!"
Preliminary stages of Scarlet Fever: The Death Crick.
"Sure, slaying is still great, even on UPN...awww, who am I kidding?"
"Does the Scooby gang smoke? Hell, we had to be high just to decide this movie was a good idea!"
"HEY! Why are you taping my breasts?"
J-Love earns her paycheck with director Baldwin
"Wow, I play Satan! It's real hard."
The horror!
"Yeah, well, you LOOK like you went down with the Titanic!"
"Mr. Scorsese, is this your toupee?"