Local barber cuts, styles hair for all the male extras in Nightmare Alley


CITY OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s been a hectic week for crews and actors filming for Nightmare Alley in the Queen City. It’s also been busy for a local barber, in charge of cutting and styling the hair for all the male extras.

The owner of Jonny the Barber, Jon Palmeri, along with his staff have been working on overdrive, making sure they’re regular clients get serviced, along with the extras.

“Monday we did over 100 (extras), Wednesday we did over 100, Thursday we did over 100 and then a couple of us are going tonight, and who knows it’ll be over 100,” Palmeri said. “Our hands hurt.”

Hundreds of extras were called in for the Hollywood film, which is set in the late 1930’s, early 1940’s. Palmeri had to do a quick Google search to make sure he was styling them all correctly.

“Fades are in now, and big hair,” Palmeri said. “Back then, it was super slicked and side parts and everything was real tight to the head.”

But some extras had a military role, and their hair included that fade look…

“But they weren’t like as good of fades as we normally do, we had to make them fit that era, because in 1940 they didn’t have the tools today, to be able to give the product we give today.”

Palmeri’s crew has done barber work for several other movies, including Marshall, which was filmed in WNY in 2016. In all, for Nightmare Alley this week, Palmeri and his crew will put in more than 20 hours of work.

“I think it’s amazing, I’m glad that they use local talent,” he said. “I’m glad that we’re able to meet their expectations, so that they didn’t have to bring people from out-of-state, or downstate or wherever, but I think it’s amazing for the community. Buffalo is getting a ton of movies, we’ve been on set of four in the last two years, I hear there’s rumors of more coming in, I’m all for it, the more the merrier, we’ll do anything.”

The barbers at Jonny the Barber haven’t met any of the big stars, like Bradley Cooper, but Palmeri said they’re more than willing to help out with a fresh cut or style if anyone needs it.

“I’m hoping Bradley needs a little trim or something, maybe needs his beard done, because I’m there, I got him.”

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