What's the latest buzz in Hollywood? Well, it's a hairstyle. Some of the town's most hirsute hunks have traded in shoulder-length shags for clean-cut coifs even Newt Gingrich could love. A revamped Tom Cruise is only the latest in a line of luminaries—including Eddie Van Halen, Andre Agassi and Higher Learning director John Singleton—who've trimmed, clipped or all but obliterated their once-lengthy locks. Even tressed-out grunge gods Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp have shorn their untamed manes. "I'm into the no-maintenance look," said Pitt, thinking ahead to a Vampire sequel. "I don't even want to grow it out to play Louis. I'd put on a wig."
Dennis Hopper—chrome-domed to play the villain in Kevin Costner's upcoming adventure flick Waterworld—went head-to-head with another notable baldy, Shaquille O'Neal, at January's Super Bowl. "We were sitting next to each other," recalls Hopper, "and he said to me, 'Nice haircut!' "
As for what inspired all these short cuts, stylists point to the barely-there hair of avant-garde figures like Sinead O'Connor and Paris designer Jean Paul Gaultier. The look gained additional cachet, thanks to Keanu Reeves (in Speed) and Tom Hanks (in Forrest Gump). "It's a rebellion against the extremism of the '80s," explains Los Angeles hairstylist Carrie White, who did clip jobs on George Hamilton and Michael Crichton. "It's saying, 'I am not my hair.' "
That's a message that also appeals to women: Jennifer Jason Leigh has un-tressed for her role in the upcoming drama Georgia, while Lori Petty sports a Susan Powter-style crew cut to play the lead in March's superhero movie Tank Girl. But be advised, say some of the newly buzzed: the move to hairless may take getting used to. "Every time I get into a convertible," says Hopper, "I still think I'm going to mess it up."