Blake Lively’s Hair: Her Acting Crutch?

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Yesterday, Blake Lively debuted newly red — well, more strawberry blond — locks. But whereas someone like Katherine Heigl cuts and dyes her hair to suit a personal fancy, Lively's hair choices seem to be determined by her next big role. In this case, it's the upcoming Hick, where she plays the white-trash mom to 13-year-old Chloe Moretz.

Lively told People, “I thought [my character] needed red hair. It helps when you’re playing a role, when I don’t feel like myself. And I don’t really feel like myself with red hair.”

Three weeks ago, Lively raised our hackles a bit when she said that she insisted she dye her hair brown for her Green Lantern role, despite the producers telling her that she could keep her natural blond hair. She acted as if she were remaining true to the comic books, but it seems as if the choice were more for her benefit than for the fans' sake.

Are you starting to sense a pattern? Lively's acclaimed turn in 2010's The Town, as Ben Affleck ex-girlfriend and mother of his child, required the usually glam actress — whose regular gig is society girl Serena van der Woodsen on The CW's Gossip Girl — to get some ragged hair extensions.

Obviously Lively's not the first actress to alter her appearance for a role: Who can forget the year when the Oscar for Best Actress nominees Jennifer Connolly, Nicole Kidman, and Charlize Theron had between them adopted coarse wigs, fake noses and teeth, and oily, blotchy skin? It's just worth noting that for Lively, the transformation seems to go only roots-deep.

With that in mind, it's interesting that one of the films that made Lively a Hollywood player, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2, didn't establish the pattern. In the sequel to the 2005 movie, we see Lively reprise her role of Bridget, but the character is shakier and not as polished as the confident young woman in the first movie. Interestingly, in Ann Brashares‘ book Bridget — as part of self-loathing sabotage on her body — gains weight and dyes her hair ash brown. This element wasn't part of the film, even though it followed the same storyline of Bridget reconnecting with her estranged grandmother.

Lively's a good actress on good projects; some of her roles have been necessarily fluffy, but her work in The Town proves that she knows when to come up to the plate. And if changing her hair for every new part helps her do that, then by all means.