The story of Rapunzel's hair from 'Into the Woods'
In the Brothers Grimm tales, Rapunzel has 75 feet of hair as "fine as spun gold." In the film Into the Woods, released December 25, actress Mackenzie Mauzy's hair is also a shimmering blonde, engineered by hair designer Peter King. We've talked all about the film's incredible costumes, and now, we get to the roots of Rapunzel's awe-inspiring braid.
The braid. Twenty-seven wefts of real hair were woven together into a 30-foot braid. "We tested loose, flowing hair, but it got uncontrollable," says King. "Then we saw an Arthur Rackham illustration of Rapunzel with a very neat plait, so we ended up doing that."
The hair. "The whole thing is real Russian hair," says King, who had to turn to distributors in several countries to find enough strands of that particular nationality. "No one retailer had enough, so we had to go to different countries, like Germany and England, to get it all. It was a mammoth task," he says.
The process. Braiding Mauzy's hairpiece required three people. "Each person had to hold one strand and do something like a Maypole dance, weaving in and out," says King.
The downtime. Between scenes, Mauzy carried the hair "wrapped around her arm like huge rolls of wool," says King. "And when it wasn't on her head, it was draped and hung around the makeup-room walls like a garland."
The color. King dyed all the wefts to match Mauzy's champagne blonde. And he created realistic gradations and highlights by blending together six different shades, from ash and strawberry.
The climb. To accommodate a stuntman scaling the tower, the braid concealed a thin rope and metal rings. "That's what bore the weight of the people climbing up," says King. "We didn't have to use anything additional. Hair is actually very strong."
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Photo Credit: Disney