‘The Office’: Did Kate Flannery Shave Her Head to Play a Bald Meredith Palmer?
Meredith Palmer isn’t just the face of rabies, the reason for Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Fun Run Pro Am Race for the Cure, or a drunk on The Office. She’s also the coworker willing to shaver her head bald in front of her colleagues. The Office fans will remember an episode in the show’s final season involving a bald Meredith Palmer. But to this day, many fans still aren’t sure how that look was achieved. Did Kate Flannery shave her head for that episode of The Office?
Kate Flannery’s character was briefly bald on ‘The Office’
Flannery and her former co-star Brian Baumgartner discussed her bald look on his podcast The Office Deep Dive. Really, shaving her head was one of the only “stunts” Flannery didn’t do for the show. That was really her planking in the men’s bathroom!
Instead of shaving her head, Flannery worked with Kim Ferry to achieve a bald look. “Our producer actually wanted Kate to shave her head, but that was not going to happen,” Ferry writes on her site. Ferry choreographed how Flannery would shave her head for the show and Meredith’s “shaved hair” look.
Kate Flannery did not shave her head bald for ‘The Office’
Instead of shaving her head entirely, Flannery worked with a talented team who gave her character the appearance of being bald. “I set about to make it look like she did shave her hair off,” Ferry continues in her post.
Together with makeup artist Ed French, Ferry created a bald cap that would “smoosh” all of Flannery’s existing hair underneath it. “The challenge was that there were many stages of her ‘baldness,'” Ferry explains.
On camera, Meredith shaves her hair off in a strip. To master this scene, Ferry had to figure out a way to demonstrate Meredith physically shaving her head. This was another gag that required the use of a bald cap. “We had to prepare for every outcome and how the camera could be fooled,” Ferry elaborates.
After the scenes where Meredith shaves her head were filmed, Flannery donned a bald cap to film the rest of the episode. French used latex and paint to achieve a skin-like texture with hair follicles.
‘The Office’ episode required a few ‘special effects’
According to Ferry, several wigs were required to make the scene possible. Plus, Ferry used a special pair of rigged clippers so Flannery could mimic the act of shaving her head.
“I gave [the clippers] to special effects and they removed the jagged edges for me, then replaced it with a smooth, curved silver piece that would not tear or catch on the very delicate latex bald cap she would have on,” Ferry explains.
Meredith’s shaving gag required 14 takes in total. But Ferry couldn’t be more proud of the work she and her team produced. “It worked on camera and the producers, writers, and crew all loved it,” Ferry concludes. “We got the take, and it was a success.”