C'mon C'mon Director Mike Mills Personally Cut Joaquin Phoenix's Hair For The Movie [Exclusive]

Can you imagine what an incredibly niche and also delightful brag it would be to have a haircut from Mike Mills? I would be recycling that story for the rest of my life. I would tell it at every party until I died. Even if the cut didn't suit me, it would be too interesting of a story to pass up. What I'm saying is that if Mike Mills decides to leave directing behind and starts cutting hair full time, I will be there no matter the price or the distance.

However, my name is not Joaquin Phoenix and I'm not an incredibly famous actor staring in Mike Mills' next movie, so it's probably not going to happen. But it did happen. To Joaquin Phoenix. In an exclusive /Film interview with Mills, the director pulled out an amusing little tidbit about all of the haircuts he gave Phoenix on the set of "C'mon C'mon," Mills' latest film about a sweet uncle/nephew relationship that develops out of some unexpected circumstances. As Mills tells it:

We had no hair and makeup. And so Joaquin's hair, we did a lot of haircuts to get to that haircut. It was actually a real key part of our process. Because we didn't have hair and makeup, especially at the beginning, I would just go in and do his hair before a take. He'd just come and dump his head at me and I would just move it up a little bit. So, the hair really actually is a very important part. If Joaquin was here, he'd completely agree. It's like, "Oh yeah. That's how I found it." That's the whole beginning of the whole thing.

Shave and a Haircut

Considering "C'mon C'mon" is a beautiful little black and white film from A24, every "serious" film fan's gateway production company, it's surprising to hear there was no hair or makeup on set. And yet, this story makes the whole shooting experience sound more fun, intimate and DIY. And it's interesting to hear Mills put so much stock into Phoenix's haircut. In our interview with him, he didn't even stop there, adding that the haircut was really the catalyst that helped Phoenix get into his role as Johnny, the aforementioned uncle to Woody Norman's Jesse, the aforementioned nephew:

There were six or seven haircuts to get to that haircut. It was a lot of discussion, because actors often, and I think Joaquin ... You don't want to talk about the theme. You don't want to talk about the underlying emotion that you're going to get to. You don't want to describe it. You want to talk about something safe and easy, but that helps you get there. Like, hair. That often happens. I've had that happen a lot. The haircut, the hair dye, whatever you going to do the hair, it's the door into the whole situation.

Two Bits

Although it sounds a little precious, it does make sense. Who among us hasn't cut or dyed their hair (or facial hair) while going through a life change? It might be an overplayed trope, but it's a trope for a reason. The hair is the door to the mind. Or the heart. Or something. But enough of my cutting observations, we haven't even talked about the fact that Mills isn't the first director who has decided to take creative control over an actors hair. Director David Ayer also gave Jai Courtney a casual little trim while they were working on "Suicide Squad." In an interview published in the September 2016 issue of Empire, Courtney said:

"I turned up to discuss my look, expecting we'd have a long discussion and slowly he refine it. David [Ayer] just walked right in, picked up some clippers and started shearing chunks of hair off my head, Eventually he said, 'You look like bad news.' Then he left."

Courtney's experience feels a little more like an episode of "America's Next Top Model" than the bonding haircuts between Mills and Phoenix, but it's not even the most permanent aesthetic change that took place on the set of "Suicide Squad." That very niche award would go to the "SKWAD" tattoos doled out by Margot Robbie. Can you imagine your boss giving you an impromptu haircut and your coworker giving you a tattoo all at the same job? Making movies is a weird business.

"C'mon C'mon" is now playing in theaters.