Actress Malin Akerman plays alopecia universalis sufferer in happythankyoumoreplease

Swedish actress Malin Akerman has shaved her eyebrows and part of her head to play a character with alopecia universalis in new film happythankyoumoreplease, which debuted at the Sundance Film Festival last year.

The film is directed by and stars Josh Radnor, who is most famous for his leading role in TV series How I Met Your Mother. In an interview with Filmmaker, Radnor explains how Akerman shaved off her eyebrows and the sides of her head to play Annie, a character with alopecia universalis. This is a hair loss condition which causes the total loss of hair all over the body.

In the film, Annie is a strong, intelligent woman trying to come to terms with her female hair loss condition and overcome her problems with commitment and self-image. Radnor says he based this character on a real-life friend of his who has alopecia, describing her as “hilarious and wise and wonderful, so I wanted to base a character on her”.

Explaining what it was like to play an alopecia sufferer on camera, Akerman said:

“Shaving off the eyebrows and wearing a bald cap was kind of freeing. It was the first time I looked in the mirror and saw somebody else. I felt like Annie became more of an interesting person because of her alopecia. It was more about finding that character than even the lack of hair”.