‘Seinfeld’: Julia Louis-Dreyfus Reveals The Inspiration Behind Elaine’s ‘Wall of Hair’

On iconic comedy series Seinfeld, one of Elaine Benes’ often-remarked-upon characteristics throughout the years has been the way Elaine dressed, the way she wore her hair. Elaine Benes definitely stood out in a crowd.

The Emmy Award winning actor who portrayed her, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 59, explained how the hair style known as her “wall of hair” came about.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, second from left, with the cast of 'Seinfeld'
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, second from left, with the cast of ‘Seinfeld’ | FILES/AFP via Getty Images

How Julia Louis-Dreyfus was cast as Elaine Benes

In 1990, Louis-Dreyfus was cast as Elaine Benes on Seinfeld and she told Television Academy Foundation in 2013 how that transpired.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is so good,'” the actor said, recalling when she looked over four scripts from series co-creator Larry David.

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“I went and I saw Larry and I met Jerry, having never met him before…and I liked him very much when we met each other. We read a scene together…and it felt very comfortable…So, we made a deal.”

Louis-Dreyfus realized ‘Seinfeld’ was like nothing else on television

The cast got to work immediately on filming the four episodes NBC had commissioned. The mother of two had her doubts the show would get picked up for any more episodes.

“After we did the four [episodes], I remember thinking, ‘This is too good for network television,’ and it’s so ‘off’ as far as what people are used to seeing, what audiences are used to seeing that it probably won’t make it,” she said.

“I mean at that time, what was on the air? I don’t know, Cosby and Jake and the Fat Man, and Cheers. I don’t mean to disparage those shows; in fact, I’m not. I’m just saying that the tone of Seinfeld was nothing like those shows.”

“And then, it got picked up, for thirteen episodes. And then it began.”

The ‘wall of hair’ Elaine Benes wore

In her interview, Louis-Dreyfus humorously tried to explain Elaine Benes’ hair. She described how, in developing a look for Elaine’s hair, she was inspired by the film, A Room With A View, based on the book by E. M. Forster.

Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter | Schweitzer-Hecht/ullstein bild via Getty Images

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“OK, look, in my defense,” she began, “first of all, the hair. Now, I have very curly hair…and around the time when Seinfeld was first starting, there was this fabulous movie that came out called Room With A View. And Helena Bonham-Carter played the lead. And she had her hair in this Victorian thing with this big wall of hair. And I thought it was incredibly beautiful, and it was.”

At this point, the Veep actor mused, “You know, I think Helena Bonham-Carter still wears her hair like that! Yes, she does.”

“And I thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that could work for my hair.’ That’s where my hair came from, that big wall of hair. And it kept growing and growing.”

Louis-Dreyfus’ style for Elaine Benes changed throughout each season of Seinfeld, but we’ll always remember her most popular “wall of hair” style.

And we’ll never look at Helena Bonham Carter the same way.