Jennifer Grey used Jamie Lee Curtis' Halloween Ends wig for her Gwen Shamblin Lifetime movie
A true friend will give you the shirt off her back — or, in Jamie Lee Curtis' case, the wig off her head.
When Jennifer Grey began discussions with Lifetime about starring in their film Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation — about the controversial (and very big-haired) leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church — she knew the role would require some high-quality wigs. And that's where her close friend Curtis came in.
"I called her and said, 'Oh, there's this job I'm thinking of maybe doing, but I told them I need good wigs,'" says Grey, who sent Curtis a photo of Shamblin as reference. "And she said, 'Okay, I'm sending you a number right now. His name is Rob Pickens, and he did my wigs for Halloween. And he did Ana de Armas' wigs for Blonde. He's got a wig-making atelier where they make them by hand, hair by hair, and you've got to call him as soon as you get off the phone with me.' And I said, 'I haven't closed my deal.' And she said, 'I don't care. It takes a long time. This shoots in two weeks? You need to get a wig fitting today.'"
HBO Max Gwen Shamblin Lara, the former leader of Remnant Fellowship
Though she wasn't officially signed on to the Lifetime movie, Grey took her friend's advice and called Pickens, whose company has crafted wigs for Stranger Things, The Greatest Showman, and Westworld, among other projects. Faced with a quick turnaround time and the need to make at least two Shamblin wigs for the Lifetime shoot, Pickens brainstormed a follicular fix.
"He said, 'We could repurpose Jamie's old wig from Halloween Ends. We can use that as the base,'" recalls Grey. "So the first wig that I'm wearing [at the beginning of the movie], when Gwen is kind of like the church lady, that's Jamie's old wig from Halloween Ends."
Explains Pickens via email, "The shorter wig repurposed for Gwen was a 'flashback' wig we built for Jamie used in Halloween Ends. This was built to replicate the original hero wig we built for the previous film. We adjusted the color and re-fronted to fit Jennifer's measurements. They are dear friends, so it was very special they could wear the same wig."
Philippe Bosse/ A+E Networks; Ryan Green/Universal Pictures Jennifer Grey as Gwen Shamblin; Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode
Shamblin, whose rise to megachurch fame and 2021 death in a plane crash was chronicled in the 2021 HBO Max documentary The Way Down, teased her hair higher and higher as the years went on. Pickens and his team created a second wig to represent that more extreme look, and Grey says the piece was "light as a feather" despite the volume of hair used.
"Because it's a really good wig, it was never heavy," she says. "But my hair had to be slicked and tightly bound to my head, and clipped and gelled and then [I had the bald] cap. The wig was not uncomfortable, but the tightness under it [was]. I have a lot of hair to wrap up inside a wig cap!"
Gwen Shamblin: Starving for Salvation airs Saturday, Feb. 4 at 8 p.m. on Lifetime.
Sign up for Entertainment Weekly's free daily newsletter to get breaking TV news, exclusive first looks, recaps, reviews, interviews with your favorite stars, and more.