by Mark Grassick
It’s hardly surprising that we get most of our style inspiration from film and TV. There are more films and TV shows than ever before and, whether it’s down to the influence of hipster culture or Game of Thrones, it feels like more and more of them feature excellent beards. We’ve delved deep into the finest follicles on screen to find five characters worthy of being our hirsute heroes.
Earnest Marks (Donald Glover) – Atlanta
In real life, Donald Glover (aka Childish Gambino) is a stylish man in every aspect. Recently, he’s been sporting a very fine full beard, but his neat, natural beard in Atlanta is a strong style for any guys who don’t want to commit to the fuller, bushier styles below. It’s a relaxed look, the lines around the cheeks and neck left natural and the length a little more grown-out. Effortlessly cool, a bit like Donald himself.
Tormund (Kristofer Hivju) – Game of Thrones
This magnificent ginger wildling boasts such a fine beard, it could tempt any man to try maintaining his follicles with a broad sword (we do not recommend this). No doubt there’s a shortage of high-end shaving equipment north of the Wall which, when combined with the icy temperatures, makes a beard essential, but this is a classic example of functional and fashionable not being mutually exclusive. It would be upsetting to see a cleanly shaven Tormund, so thankfully Norwegian actor Hivju seems to favor the fully bearded look outside of Game of Thrones, looking equally rugged in the excellent Force Majeure and In Order of Disappearance.
Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) – The Leftovers
There are many reasons to love The Leftovers: it’s one of the great underrated shows of recent times; it’s a stunningly surreal and unexpectedly funny meditation on grief and the afterlife; Carrie Coon is mind-blowingly brilliant; and Justin Theroux’s beard is just wonderful. Clean-shaven for the first two seasons, Theroux’s tormented cop shows up at the beginning of season three with the kind of beard that looks effortless but is quite obviously maintained with care and precision. But that’s Garvey all over, he’s ripped even though he never seems to work out, so it only follows that he would automatically be able to grow a great beard. The mere mortals among us may have to put a little more care into the process, but this is definitely an easier look to achieve and maintain than Tormund’s.
Frank Serpico (Al Pacino) – Serpico
One from the archives here. Frank Serpico is taunted by his fellow cops for looking like a scruffy hippy, but his beatnik style has aged well and wouldn’t look out of place in current-day Williamsburg. Pacino runs through the full range of facial hair options (as well as some questionable hat choices) in the film, from clean-shaven to full beard, with a moustache and a goatee thrown in for good measure. The full beard is the winner, with echoes of Born to Run-era Springsteen in Serpico’s whole ‘shaggy hair and woolly beanie’ look. Serpico may look rugged, but that beard has been cultivated with care. For a 70s flavor that doesn’t cross the line into fancy dress, this is unbeatable.
Logan (Hugh Jackman) – Logan
Speaking of fancy dress, Wolverine’s regular facial hair would be a bold choice and pretty difficult to build into your everyday look. However, the older, more conventionally bearded Logan in the most recent installment is a fine template for those with a bit more salt than pepper in their beard. It’s a little reminiscent of Jackman’s fellow countryman Mel Gibson and looks equally good with a suit or a worn-in denim shirt. Logan’s hair is similarly toned down, the trademark ‘wings’ exchanged for a classic textured quiff.
Mark Grassick joins us with over 17 years' experience as a journalist covering pop culture in the UK and Ireland. He's interviewed everyone from Alan Rickman to Iron Maiden. Currently he's a bearded, 30-something-year old husband and father residing in London.