‘The Office’: Rainn Wilson Chose ‘the Ugliest Haircut’ for Dwight on Purpose

Most people can relate to the experience of having a bad hair day. But what about having a bad hair day every day for nine years? That’s sort of what happened to Rainn Wilson while he portrayed the eccentric and deeply unstylish Dwight in The Office. But he’s the one responsible.

Rainn Wilson says he felt an affinity for his ‘The Office’ character Dwight

the office dwight
THE OFFICE — Season 3 — Pictured: Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute | Mitchell Haaseth/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

The beet-farming, power-hungry weirdo known as Dwight Schrute had both a terrible haircut and a lack of social skills. It was the actor, however, who truly brought the mop-topped megalomaniac to life. Wilson spoke to Yahoo TV shortly before the show officially wrapped in 2015, explaining his appreciation of the character:

“He’s definitely unforgettable, and I have been so lucky to have had this experience,” the actor shared. “It was the role of a lifetime, and I’ll be lucky if I ever get to play another character half as quirky and interesting and complicated as Dwight.”

Wilson has expressed that his connection with Dwight was immediate. He knew from the early days of the auditioning process that he wanted to land the role. On an episode of the podcast The Office Deep Dive with The Office co-star Brian Baumgartner, Wilson recalls the experience.

“On that first audition, I auditioned for both Michael and Dwight and my Michael was just terrible. It was just simply a Ricky Gervais impersonation. I knew that I had more of an affinity for the Dwight role and I knew that I could really deliver on that. I just felt it in my bones. I’m like, ‘Oh, this is me! This is exactly my kind of weird!'”

Dwight’s ridiculous haircut was all Rainn Wilson’s idea

The American version of The Office is based on a BBC television show of the same name. In the British version, actor Mackenzie Crook plays office oddball Gareth Keenan, the inspiration for Dwight. Many of Gareth’s attributes were incorporated into Dwight’s character—including Mackenzie’s hair—as Wilson explains:

“I read an interview with him where he said he went to a local barbershop out in Slough or some suburb of London, and he kind of got the haircut that would be the least flattering for his head and the most ridiculous haircut. And I read that, and I was like, ‘Oh, I want to do that!'”

With the middle-part highlighting Wilson’s forehead, all that was left to complete the look was a nerdy pair of glasses and a mustard-colored shirt. Choosing such a ridiculous yet recognizable hairdo was certainly the right choice. Ultimately, Wilson never realized how long he would be shackled to the unbecoming hairstyle and would later come to regret the decision.

‘I have no one to blame but myself’ says Rainn Wilson of his haircut

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While Wilson clearly enjoyed portraying Dwight for The Office‘s nine-season run, Wilson was clearly happy to be free of the character’s look when it ended. He even worked to make his hair “not Dwight-ish” on his days off. 

“One thing I will not miss is Dwight’s hair straightening, hairstyling, and the terrible middle part,” he said in his Yahoo interview. “And I have no one to blame but myself. That was my contribution to Season 1. I was going to design the worst possible haircut for Dwight.”

Though he didn’t end up continuing the role in the proposed spinoff series centered around Schrute Farms, Wilson remains synonymous with Dwight. After all, that haircut was more than memorable.