Learn the reason John Krasinski made his own wig for Jim Halpert in Season 3 of The Office.
One of the most interesting bits of The Office legend is, of course, the reason Jim’s hair looks so awful in the third season.
John Krasinski‘s shaggy hair turned into the mainstay of the fan-favorite Office guy, but for a single season, something felt a little off. It didn’t look right at all. Turns out John Krasinski was wearing a wig in season 3 of The Office.
Indeed, many Office fans did some research and learned that Krasinski was filming a huge part in the George Clooney movie Leatherheads during Season 3 of the series, and if you’ve seen the movie, you know Krasinski doesn’t have Jim’s signature hair.
But the real story behind Krasinski getting permission to shave his head and wear a wig is interesting and quite amusing, to say the least.
As per Andy Greene‘s book The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, the actor was utterly delighted to secure a prominent role in Leatherheads.
Only one concern: the office creator and showrunner Greg Daniels didn’t want Krasinski to shave his hair. Hairstylist Kim Ferry stated Daniels was certain that fans could see Krasinski’s hair isn’t real:
It would have meant cutting his hair into a 1920s hairstyle. But continuity-wise and contractually-wise, actors are obligated to keep their hair how it is for a series unless they get producer approval, of course. But it would have been cutting his hair super short, which would mean getting rid of the wings on the side and his long hair. He came to me and said, ‘Could we do a wig?’ He went to talk to them and said, ‘I really want to do this project.’ And they were like, ‘I think it would be obvious that it was a wig.’ Greg really felt like it won’t look like him.
Krasinski would fail to land the part in Leatherheads if he didn’t get his head shaved, so he took a huge risk—he got Ferry to make a wig in secrecy, and wore it when filming a scene without informing anyone:
Hiring a wig maker is not inexpensive. We did the fitting in his trailer and when it was done it looked amazing. It looked exactly like him. We were shooting him playing basketball at David Wallace’s house [“Cocktails”] and no one knows that I have this wig hidden in my side of the trailer now. He comes in. I put the wig on him, glue it down, take care of everything. And I go, ‘Okay, let’s do this, right?’ And he’s like, ‘Let’s do this.’
Initially, Krasinski’s idea was to head to the producers to claim, “See, I was wearing a wig and you couldn’t tell.” But the plan changed – the actor wore the wig to go and speak to Daniels. Ferry recalled the event:
John just vanished when the scene finished filming and I heard he drove back to the set. I jump in my car and I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Oh my God. What’s he gonna do?’ So I run over and I remember running up the stairs because the writers’ office was up on the top level. I walk down the hallway and my heart is pounding. I’m like, ‘Oh my God. What is happening?’ I walk in the room and Greg Daniels is sitting at his desk. I look at John and the wig is off. It’s sitting on Greg’s desk.
As it turns out, Krasinski had a full chat with his supervisor while sporting the wig, only to show it could work:
John told me later that Greg said to him, ‘John, I’ll know if it’s a wig. You can’t fake that kind of thing.’ As he’s staring at him with the wig on. And then John’s like, ‘Really? I don’t think you would,’ and he takes it off right in front of him.’ And then Greg said, ‘You win, I give you full permission to wear the wig.’ When I came in [Greg] said to me, ‘You guys have a lot of balls.’ For a minute I really thought I was going to get fired.
So, yes, Krasinski and the hairstylist of the program took a pretty big leap of faith to try to persuade Daniels—and it’s a great thing it succeeded.
But the fact that viewers have recognized Jim’s wig over the years is evidence it wasn’t a smooth transition, and it’s sort of satisfying in the Season 3 finale when Jim cuts his hair for a corporate job interview and eventually gets to take the wig off.