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Dylan O’Brien Shares Insights into the Creation of His Viral Transformation in ‘Ponyboi’

Dylan O’Brien Details How His Viral ‘Ponyboi’ Transformation Came to Be

When Ponyboi cinematographer Don Sean shared images from the film set featuring Dylan O’Brien in 2022, the photos quickly gained viral attention on Instagram. Fans expressed their reactions on social media, particularly highlighting the actor’s remarkable transformation for the movie. This included a close fade, slits on his eyebrows, multiple chains, and facial hair sculpted into a chin strap—a significant departure from his well-known shaggy hair and beard.

During an interview with The Hollywood Reporter at the Sundance Film Festival, held on Saturday, O’Brien and co-star River Gallo, who also served as the film’s writer, provided insights into the creation of the distinctive look.

Dylan O'Brien Shares Insights into the Creation of His Viral Transformation in 'Ponyboi'

Dylan O’Brien Shares Insights into the Creation of His Viral Transformation in ‘Ponyboi’ (Credits: Reddit)

O’Brien emphasized that the character’s appearance, including the hairstyle and costumes, was a collaborative effort involving himself, Gallo, and director Esteban Arango. Gallo aimed for a look inspired by Jersey Shore star Pauly D to suit the film’s Jersey setting, while O’Brien envisioned his character with cropped hair.

“We had this barber do this really cool cut on me that just sort of combined all,” explained the actor. Recalling a specific moment in the trailer, he mentioned, “Remember that day in the trailer? We were doing like the goatee, and you were like, ‘Leave the chin strap.’ I was like, ‘Sure.’ And then you fought for the chinstrap and kept it, thankfully, because I love it.”

Gallo’s creative ideas continued to shape O’Brien’s appearance, including a tattoo concept shared early on. O’Brien, appreciating the suggestion, remarked, “River literally texted me about a tattoo idea that early on when I first came on board, and I was like, ‘I love it,’ and I’ll leave it as a surprise.”

Once the distinctive look was established, O’Brien found it instrumental in fully understanding his character. “It just kind of came together and really informed me. I mean, those things just helped so much, especially with something that was a departure for me, for sure and it’s not who I am by any means,” he explained. “I definitely felt like I knew exactly… I knew this guy. I knew kids like this. I knew exactly what I wanted to do. But all those things just really evolve as you start the process comes together and the tattoos come in and the hair and the clothes, my fit. I could never have stepped into the role in the way that I ended up doing without all those pieces in the process.”

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