To play a cancer victim in HBO's upcoming adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Wit, Oscar-winner Emma Thompson decided to go the Method route and took a machete to her mane. But the celeb scoffs at the notion that her new 'do afforded her any sort of anonymity. "Anonymity?" she deadpans. "A bald woman?"

Thompson can laugh about it now, but the actress-writer — who chose Wit as her first project since giving birth to Gaia Romilly Wise in Dec. 1999 — admits to TV Guide Online that she suffered from some pre-chop jitters. "I was slightly worried about my daughter, so we cut my hair in front of her," says the Brit, whose beau, Greg Wise, was cast in the role of barber. "We were outside in the garden, so it looked like a pair of badgers had kind of fought to death on the lawn."

Despite the elaborate production, Thompson says that Gaia had little reaction to mom morphing into a skinhead before her eyes. "[She] didn't think anything of it at all," she marvels. "She couldn't have been more bored."

Although Wit — which premieres on HBO on March 24 — wrapped production months ago, Thompson was such a fan of her makeover that she stuck with the closely-cropped look. Luckily, she doesn't need a full head of hair for her next endeavor, which she reveals is "[doing] absolutely nothing. I'm writing a lot, so I have nothing in the pipeline except [what's] in my pen."