It took years for Hollywood to create the perfect woman. Now it wants the old one back.
In small but significant numbers, filmmakers and casting executives are beginning to re-examine Hollywood’s attitude toward breast implants, Botox, collagen-injected lips and all manner of plastic surgery.
Television executives at Fox Broadcasting, for example, say they have begun recruiting more natural looking actors from Australia and Britain because the amply endowed, freakishly young-looking crowd that shows up for auditions in Los Angeles suffers from too much sameness.
“I think everyone either looks like a drag queen or a stripper,” said Marcia Shulman, who oversees casting for Fox’s scripted shows.
Independent casting directors like Mindy Marin, who worked on the Jason Reitman film “Up in the Air,” are urging talent agents to discourage clients from having surgery, particularly older celebrities who, she contends, are losing jobs because their skin is either too taut or swollen with filler. Said Ms. Marin: “What I want to see is real.”
Even extras get the once-over. Sande Alessi, who helped cast the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies, said she offers to photograph actresses in their bathing suits, telling them they can keep the photo for their audition books.
Professional courtesy? Not exactly. Moviemakers prefer actresses with natural breasts for costume dramas and period films. So much so that when the Walt Disney Company recently advertised for extras for the new “Pirates” film, the casting call specified that only women with real breasts need apply. By taking a photograph, Ms. Alessi said, “we don’t have to ask, we will know.”
The move toward “less is more” is being propelled by a series of colliding social and technological trends, more than a dozen film and television professionals said.
Cosmetic enhancements remain popular, with 10 million surgical and nonsurgical procedures performed in the United States in 2009, according to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. At the same time, the spread of high-definition television – as well as a curious public’s trained eye – has made it easier to spot a celebrity’s badly stitched hairline or botched eyelid lift.
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