According to Vanis, O’Brien spent a majority of that time practicing TikTok transitions to document the evolution, eating sandwiches, and petting his dog, Tony, while waiting for the Redken Blonde Idol Flash Lift Bonder Inside Lightener (mixed with Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector) to set. A few hours later, Vanis used toner even out the color and maintained it throughout the shoot with Kristin Ess The One Purple Shampoo.
“Everybody was shocked and excited,” Vanis says of the cast reaction to O’Brien’s makeover. “He thought he looked like Malcom McDowell before the shock wore off. I think for him, there was genuine shock, because he’d never seen his hair any other way, and then he was really into it and really felt himself as [his character], Colin.”
The TikTok-less actor got so into his new look, he fully committed to the TikTok transition for the movie’s account, opting to get fully in character (which included putting on dozens of temporary tattoos and a wardrobe change) to complete his new look. And the commitment was worth it; the video received over 13.9 million views and 2.9 million likes and counting.
“I had never had a video go viral before,” Vanis says of the TikTok. “Not Okay posted on their TikTok first and then I posted on Instagram because I felt really proud of it. It’s all I saw for weeks and I got like 10,000 likes overnight. But then people were a little mean after for me not posting more of him.”
“Help, someone send an ambulance,” one commenter wrote under the original TikTok video. Another compared O’Brien’s unexpected new look to that of the late Paul Walker and a blond Zayn Malik. Vanis admits that even though she read the script, seeing O’Brien fully in character was “so funny because he really became Colin. I had honestly never seen him in anything beforehand, and it just felt like he had so much fun with [the role].”
She helped maintain the look during O’Brien’s week of shooting with an alcohol palette to diffuse the color in the front of his hair and help hide any roots that appeared. Alcohol palettes, which are typically used by special effects and makeup artists on set, help color-correct when there’s not enough time to do full touch-ups. And though the movie is already out and the press tour long finished, Chicken Nuggets want O’Brien to keep his blond look, with some questioning why his hair has to grow so fast (in another TikTok, he said it’s because he’s a good person, of course!).