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LOVE that hairdo

























































Padmé Amidala finally gets to let her hair down. No longer Queen of Naboo, she's freed from the stately robes and traditional make-up that all but obscured her. Now a 24-year old Senator, she's able to define her own style and even able to relax from time to time. Managing her chestnut curls, and all the hair requirements of Episode II, is hair stylist Sue Love.

"He's very clear about his ideas," says Love, describing her working relationship with director George Lucas. "He explained it very well -- it's more of that old Hollywood glamour. People get confused and think 'space age and futuristic,' but it's not. It's actually completely the other way around. All the costumes and the hair, there's a period feel to them. So, I reference old films when I work."

Concept illustrations and notes start the process, and Love experiments with all manner of coifs and dos. She works mainly with acrylic hair, stretched or wrapped around lightweight templates covered with canvas. "We try to keep it very lightweight," she explains. The wigs and hairpieces are often built atop casts of the actors face, so that everything can be seen in context. It is these pieces that are approved, and then actually are fitted to the actors.

As a result, very rarely are we looking at the actor's actual hair -- especially if it's a rather elaborate set-up. Often, the actor's hair is either completely obscured by a wig, or built upon and incorporated into the piece. "Hayden Christensen had short hair when he first arrived, so we had to just trim it a little bit. We added the braid, which is tied to a little bit of his own hair. We sew the ponytail on the back."

A particular challenge is maintaining the pieces in the changing climates of location shooting. "It's a battle," says Love. "It's all the different temperatures. When we were at Lake Como, it poured rain, and Natalie Portman had her long curls which don't go very well in the rain. It was a constant battle to keep curling it up all the time, and to keep it looking the same. Then, the mornings in Tunisia are very, very humid. If I took her hairpiece out, all those lovely curls would just go straight."

Portman has about 15-20 hairstyles in Episode II, and Love has a favorite. "Nothing's difficult on Natalie. She's so beautiful. You can put anything on her," she says. "I think P-11 [the white jumpsuit look] is my favorite. The original design had huge loop, and I said to [Costume Designer] Trisha Biggar, what if I made that smaller, more compact? We sat in my kitchen at home -- it was before I had actually started working on the film properly -- wrapping hair around thin foam tubes, making these loops. We made a rough of it and sent it to George at Skywalker Ranch. It came back here with a note saying he loved it. We've got four copies of that now, but the original one was the one that works the most -- the one made in my kitchen. She just looks so cute in it."