Oscars 2008

Javier Bardem's Hair-Raising Challenge

02/22/2008 at 12:30 PM EST

Javier Bardem's Hair-Raising Challenge
Currently one of awards season's sexiest men, Oscar nominee Javier Bardem had to cope with a major challenge on the set of No Country for Old Men: his Prince Valiant haircut.

"He hated it and loved it," the movie's hair stylist Paul LeBlanc tells PEOPLE. "But he would say that once I did his hair, he could become the character. Javier is a true actor and got into the character sublimely."

The cut, inspired by paintings of medieval knights, generated buzz among cast and crew.

"On set, everybody would look at [Javier] and say, 'My God, what is that?'" LeBlanc says. "Josh Brolin told him at one point, 'You ain't gonna [score] for three months.' "

Off-screen, Bardem would simply slick the style back before a night out. LeBlanc confirms that despite the nightmare 'do, the actor was still "a man about town."

Indeed, since wrapping the New Mexico shoot, Bardem's love life hasn't missed a beat. He's been quietly dating actress Penelope Cruz since the fall.

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